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Volume 24 No. 158
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ESPN Earns 2.6 Overnight For U.S.-Brazil Women's World Cup Quarterfinal Match

ESPN earned a 2.6 overnight Nielsen rating for yesterday afternoon's U.S.-Brazil FIFA Women's World Cup quarterfinal, which the U.S. squad won in penalty kicks. The net's top overnight for the tournament to date had been a 1.3 rating for the U.S.-Colombia match on July 2 in the same time window. The 2.6 overnight is behind the net's 3.2 overnight for the U.S.-Brazil World Cup semifinal from '99 (THE DAILY).

THE DARKE KNIGHT: USA TODAY's Michael McCarthy writes ESPN's telecast of U.S.-Brazil was "hands down, the most stirring sports TV of the weekend." Announcer Ian Darke "earned whatever big bucks ESPN is paying him by rising to the occasion with a great call" (USA TODAY, 7/11). In Atlantic City, James Clarke writes "thank goodness" ESPN Senior VP & Exec Producer Jed Drake and Exec VP/Content John Skipper "had the guts (and the massive checkbook) to hire Ian Darke," who yesterday "found himself serving as the voice of record for a seminal moment in U.S. soccer history" (ATLANTIC CITY PRESS, 7/11). CBSSports.com’s Bryan Fischer wrote on his Twitter feed, “Ian Darke's performance calling this game was just as good as the game itself. Masterful.” ABC’s Josh Elliott: “Ian Darke's call of the US run through this Cup has been equal to that of his work in South Africa last summer. Tremendous.” CSN Bay Area’s Ray Ratto: “Hand to God, Ian Darke may be one of five broadcasters on planet who knows how to break down a game with criticism instead of drooly worship.” WSOC-ABC's Bill Voth: “Ian Darke should be on the call for every single American sporting event.” KBME-AM’s Matt Jackson: “BTW someone should hire Ian Darke to call NFL or hoops games. The guy is closing in on Gus-gasm as the dominant broadcaster of this era” (TWITTER.com, 7/10).

MEDIA MONITOR: The U.S.-Brazil game was featured in the opening headline stories of ABC’s “GMA” and NBC’s “Today,” but not on CBS’ “The Early Show” this morning. “The Early Show” co-hosts did begin the broadcast after the opening headline stories with comments on the victory. The “GMA” headline during the opening credit segment was “The Thrill of Victory.” Co-hosts George Stephanopoulos and Robin Roberts discussed the game briefly in the beginning of the show, then aired a report on the game 15 minutes into the broadcast. During the second hour of the broadcast, U.S. F Abby Wambach and G Hope Solo appeared live via satellite to discuss the game. Stephanopoulos said the game “could be the most exciting win ever in American soccer.” Solo: “It’s one of the greatest victories of all-time in American sports.” The “Today” show’s opening segment headline was “Drama Queens!” and then aired a report in the news segment on the game at about 10 minutes into the broadcast and again early in the second hour’s news hole. NBC’s Natalie Morales: “Facebook is exploding with congratulations again for the U.S. women’s soccer team.” “The Early Show” aired a report on the game about 18 minutes into the broadcast. CBS’s Chris Wragge said of the game in the intro of the broadcast, “Everybody is talking about it” (THE DAILY).