NBC's 9.7 Overnight For Kentucky Derby Race Segment Down 6% From '10
NBC earned a 9.7 overnight Nielsen rating for the race segment of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday from 6:00-6:45pm ET, which saw Animal Kingdom win in his first race on a dirt surface. The 9.7 overnight is down 5.8% from a 10.3 overnight last year for Super Saver's victory, which was the best Derby overnight rating since '92. NBC's complete coverage of the Derby from 5:00-6:45pm earned a 7.4 overnight, down from an 8.0 rating last year. The net also lacked an NHL Stanley Cup Playoff game lead-in this year, with last year's race benefitting from Game One of the Flyers-Bruins Eastern Conference Semifinal (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). In St. Petersburg, Rodney Page writes coverage of the Kentucky Derby "seems to follow the same formula every year," and this year's broadcast "was good, but not great." Larry Collmus replaced Tom Durkin as the race's announcer this year, and it "was a little hard to hear his call." Jones: "Maybe it was just my TV, but Collmus seemed drowned out by the in-house track announcer." Still, NBC's Donna Brothers "has to be the best horse-riding interviewer on TV," and Gary Stevens "was the most credible of the analysts" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 5/9). USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand writes NBC's "lavish Kentucky Derby coverage Saturday pretty much tested the outer limits of trying to attract viewers who wouldn't otherwise watch racing -- especially in showing the Village People sing their pick" to win the race, Mucho Macho Man (USA TODAY, 5/9).
HONEST APPROACH: In N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes, "No post-game, post-match, post-race interview produced what NBC presented when Bob Neumeier tracked down 68-year-old winning owner Barry Irwin, who was en route to the winner's stage." Neumeier asked why Irwin "had only recently brought in Graham Motion to train Animal Kingdom," and Irwin said, "I was just tired of the other trainers lying to me. I wanted a guy who'd tell me the truth." Neumeier, "with a fabulous, satanic smile," then asked, "How many trainers have lied to you?" Irwin responded, "Plenty. Gotta go." Mushnick: "If the Kentucky Derby's the greatest two minutes in sports, this was the wildest short-form, post-race -- or anything else -- interview" (N.Y. POST, 5/9).
ONE DOWN, TWO TO GO: N.Y. Daily News columnist Mike Lupica said of the Triple Crown, "Now the only thing that matters is if Animal Kingdom wins The Preakness. The only reason to continue to watch this or care about it will be at Baltimore. ... The only thing that carries these five weeks ... is the chance at a Triple Crown horse" ("The Sports Reporters," ESPN, 5/8). Churchill Downs Inc. President & CEO Robert Evans said of a possible Triple Crown winner, "When you get to the Belmont Stakes, that third race, the entire country pays attention, so I think it can help in a general sense. Clearly it will help drive up greater interest in the Triple Crown" ("Street Signs," CNBC, 5/6).