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Volume 24 No. 158
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World Series Game Four Overnight Beats "SNF" Blowout, But Down From '10 Figure

Fox earned a 10.1 overnight Nielsen rating for last night's Cardinals-Rangers World Series Game Four, down 3% from a 10.4 overnight for Giants-Rangers Game Four last year. The game led Fox to a win in primetime last night up against "SNF" on NBC, which earned an 8.2 overnight for the Saints' blowout win over the Colts. Fox also marked its best Sunday night primetime rating since Super Bowl XLV last February and the World Series this year has now been the top-rated telecast in primetime for each of its four ngihts. However, with the added competition, the 10.1 overnight marks the lowest overnight of any World Series Game Four on record. Fox also got a weaker lead-in rating from its NFL national window this year. The 16.3 overnight for the Week Seven telecast, which featured Packers-Vikings, was down 4% compared to the lead-in last year, which earned a 17.0 overnight featuring Vikings-Patriots in Week Eight. Meanwhile, the Cardinals' 16-7 win over the Rangers in Game Three on Saturday night earned Fox a 7.4 overnight rating, down 3% from a 7.6 rating for Game Three last year (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). ESPN’s J.A. Adande on Friday said the World Series delivered "two exceptionally close games” to start the series, but "what it’s not delivering is television ratings." Adande: "Baseball has a long-term issue here. It’s not generating social media traffic, it doesn’t dominate the discussion. Maybe the games just aren’t juicy enough for today’s culture ... because just broadcasting baseball games -- even really good ones in hi-def -- is no longer enough” (“Jim Rome Is Burning,” ESPN, 10/21).

AS GOOD AS EVER: Fox' Joe Buck said last week that he is "all-but recovered from a lengthy vocal cord ailment that led to him taking singing lessons over the summer to help him get his high tones back." In St. Louis, Dan Caesar noted Buck had "been unable to reach the top range, with the deep intonations that are desired for affect on exciting, game-changing plays." But Fox' "lead baseball-play-by-play man came through loud and clear Saturday night when describing the key play of Game 3 of the World Series, Albert Pujols' three-run homer that gave the Cardinals an 11-6 lead in the sixth inning" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/23).

OUTSTANDING ANALYSIS: In St. Petersburg, Tom Jones writes, "Outstanding job by Fox's crew Saturday night during Game 3 of the World Series." When the topic of pitchers tipping pitches came up, Fox "called upon pre- and postgame analyst A.J. Pierzynski to chime in with his experience." Pierzynski revealed that Cardinals P Edwin Jackson "used to look down during his windup when he threw fastballs." He also said that Mets P Johan Santana "would give away pitches with how he held his mouth." Jones: "Sensational work by Pierzynski to offer up real examples from real players and smart work by Fox to work Pierzynski into that part of the broadcast" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 10/24).

CABLE TAKE OVER: In N.Y., Bob Raissman noted in an interview with SiriusXM’s Chris (Mad Dog) Russo, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said, "Never have so many been interested in acquiring our (postseason TV) rights. Major, major networks." Raissman noted a "couple of things to consider." With Comcast now owning NBC and Versus, "it could be a player." Also, with CBS and Turner Sports "already aligned as NCAA hoops partners, maybe they combine to bid on baseball, too." Incumbent Fox "should be in the mix and, of course, with its huge wallet the commish probably sees ESPN trying to glom the entire package." Raissman: "After the dust settles, it would be no surprise if every round of the playoffs, except the World Series, ends up on cable" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/23).

AMERICA'S PASTIME: Also in N.Y., Phil Mushnick asked, "Say, whatever happened to the World Series? Whatever happened to the greatest event in American sports?" Mushnick: "Even the warm, fuzzy little things that made the World Series special -- the carryover appeal from when we were kids -- have been left diminished or forsaken." For the World Series, "American flag bunting used to be hung from in front of the first row of stands," but after two games in St. Louis, "haven't even seen a stitch of it" (N.Y. POST, 10/23). Mushnick writes "in the New York City area, the World Series cannot clearly be heard on AM or FM radio." Those remanded to a car Saturday night "a mere 20 miles south of Manhattan were stuck trying to find a reasonably listenable signal of ESPN Radio’s exclusive live broadcast." Mushnick: "It’s an added shame that in Dan Shulman, Orel Hershiser and Bobby Valentine, ESPN Radio has a pretty good team" (N.Y. POST, 10/24).