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Volume 25 No. 194
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NBC Earns 5.1 Overnight Rating For Final Round Coverage Of U.S. Open

NBC earned a 5.1 overnight Nielsen rating for yesterday's final round of the U.S. Open from 1:30-7:45pm ET, which saw Rory McIlroy win his first major by eight strokes while shooting the lowest 72-hole score in tournament history. Last year's final round from Pebble Beach, which saw Graeme McDowell defeat Gregory Havret by one stroke, earned a 6.9 overnight as the telecast lasted well into primetime (3:00-9:15pm). The 5.1 overnight matches the Sunday telecast from '09, which aired from 1:30-8:15pm and included the completion of the third round and beginning of the final round due to weather delays. Yesterday's final round peaked at a 7.4 rating from 7:00-7:30pm. The telecast helped NBC to a win in primetime. DC topped all U.S. markets with a 9.4 local rating, while Greenville-Spartanburg ranked second with an 8.3 rating. NBC Saturday earned a 3.6 overnight for third-round coverage, down from a 4.5 rating last year in primetime when Tiger Woods made a run onto the front page of the leaderboard. The 3.6 overnight on Saturday is also down from a 3.7 overnight in '09, when third-round play was halted early due to weather (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand writes Saturday's ratings "suggest viewers didn't yet see McIlroy ... as a Woods-like Chosen One" (USA TODAY, 6/20).

U.S. OPEN FINAL ROUND OVERNIGHT NIELSEN RATINGS TREND ON NBC
YR RATING WINNER
'11 5.1 Rory McIlroy
'10* 6.9 Graeme McDowell
'09** 5.1 Lucas Glover
'08*^ 8.5 Tiger Woods
'07 7.0 Angel Cabrera
'06 5.1 Geoff Ogilvy
'05 5.8 Michael Campbell
NOTES: * = Tournament held on West Coast with late primetime finish. ** = Final round began Sunday evening until play was suspended. Finished on Monday morning. ^ = Tournament finished on Monday with 18-hole playoff and one-hole sudden death.
 

DEALING WITHOUT DRAMA: USA TODAY's Hiestand writes due to McIlroy's runaway win, NBC "didn't have much else to work with Sunday." The course "didn't create much drama," and there were not "many famous Americans onscreen." Analyst Johnny Miller said, "I feel like I'm watching a European Tour event." Hiestand notes NBC "didn't go overboard early with stay-tuned-you're-witnessing-greatness angles, reminding viewers that McIlroy has only one PGA Tour win and had a final-round meltdown in the Masters" (USA TODAY, 6/20). In Denver, Dusty Saunders writes despite McIlroy's runaway, NBC "did its darnedest to keep viewers by using a variety of producing gimmicks, including a jet-trail, a ball-tracking device during replays." The net also conducted a phone interview with Jack Nicklaus, who has "taken the new champion under his golfing wing" (DENVER POST, 6/20). In St. Petersburg, Tom Jones writes NBC "continues to have the best golf coverage on television." While viewers might know "how good" Miller, play-by-play announcer Dan Hicks, on-course reporter Dottie Pepper and host Bob Costas are, the "under-appreciated person on the telecast is Golf World magazine senior writer Tim Rosaforte." Rosaforte's appearances "are chock full of information on the golfers' background." However, he "only makes a couple appearances on each broadcast." NBC should "tap into him more because his segments are among the best of the coverage" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 6/20).

AMERICAN SLANG: YAHOO SPORTS' Jay Busbee reported NBC aired two versions of a taped segment featuring the Pledge of Allegiance running alongside "patriotic images" with the U.S. Open being played right outside DC. The first version "left out the words 'under God' and 'indivisible,'" while the second version "went even further, knocking out 'one nation' as well." Hicks during the coverage read a statement that said in part, "Regrettably, a portion of the pledge of allegiance that was in that feature was edited out. It was not done to upset anyone and we'd like to apologize to those of you who were offended by it" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 6/19). The backlash to the exclusions on social media outlets "was quick and harsh, with some tweets calling for a boycott of NBC" (AP, 6/19). The ST. PETE TIMES' Jones writes NBC "deserves whatever criticism it gets." Jones: "When you have to read an on-air statement, you've probably done something wrong. That's bad business" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 6/20). In K.C., Jeff Banister wrote, "NBC wimped out. It simply seemed to me that NBC chose a cowardly way to tone down the political/religious rhetoric associated with their opening" (KANSASCITY.com, 6/19). Also in K.C., Lisa Gutierrez wrote, "Someone asleep at the editing switch?" (KANSASCITY.com, 6/19). In Baltimore, David Zurawik: "I have a feeling this is a mistake that will be more discussed than even McIlroy's performance by some" (BALTIMORESUN.com, 6/19).

HERE COMES THE BOOM: ESPN once again carried Thursday and Friday coverage of the U.S. Open, and GOLFWEEK's Martin Kaufmann wrote under the header, "Boomer Detracts From Open Telecast." After years of hosting ESPN's coverage, Chris Berman "is nothing if not predictable." Kaufmann: "A Brandt Jobe sighting brings a reference to the Book of Job. The late-afternoon session is 'happy hour.' ESPN's Tom Rinaldi is 'Two-Putt Tommy.'" However, in "fairness to Berman ... he seemed a tad more restrained Thursday" (GOLFWEEK.com, 6/17). In N.Y., Phil Mushnick asked, "Which was more annoying after the first two rounds? Chris Berman's silly, self-promotional cracks or Andy North's forced laughter that followed?" Meanwhile, there are times when NBC's Miller, "especially after someone hits a bad shot, makes you wonder how he ever lost a tournament" (N.Y. POST, 6/19).