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Volume 24 No. 113
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ESPN's Chiefs-Patriots "MNF" Sees Slight Uptick In Overnight Ratings

ESPN earned an 8.5 overnight Nielsen rating for the Chiefs-Patriots "MNF" game last night, up 2.4% from an 8.3 rating for Broncos-Chargers in Week 11 last year. In Boston, the game earned an 11.0 local rating on ESPN and a 21.2 rating on WCVB-ABC. In K.C., the game earned a 12.8 local rating on ESPN and a 17.0 rating on KMBC-ABC (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

BEING FLEXIBLE: The NFL opted to flex out of the Colts-Patriots "SNF" game Dec. 4, with NBC instead taking the Lions-Saints game that had been scheduled for Fox. The move, however, left Fox with only two 1:00pm ET games; CBS had seven. So the NFL moved Broncos-Vikings from CBS to Fox, marking the first time a game switched Sunday afternoon broadcasters as a result of NBC's flex schedule, which has been in effect since '06. By contract, CBS carries all interleague games played in an NFC stadium, and Fox carries all interleague games played in an AFC stadium. "We worked with CBS and Fox to ensure a broadcast pattern on Sunday afternoon Dec. 4 which will increase the coverage areas of our nine 1:00pm games," said NFL Dir of Corporate Communications Dan Masonson. "This move allows the games in those windows to be broadcast to a wider audience." Sources said Fox protected its Packers-Giants game from being flexed into "SNF." Sources also said the NFL did not want NBC to take the Bengals-Steelers game from CBS, worried that the loss of that game would weaken CBS' single-header window too much (John Ourand, THE DAILY).

N.Y. WHO? On Long Island, Neil Best writes among the "many reasons NFL ratings are immune to the unpredictability of sports is that unlike other major pro leagues, New York needs it more than it needs New York." Best: "Even a week as devastating for New York football as this past one mostly causes the NFL and its TV partners to shrug." This is a league that last played in L.A. shortly after Jets QB Mark Sanchez' "eighth birthday, and has suffered not at all from blowing off the nation's second-largest market." Best: "Having said all that, it certainly is not a good thing for the league if the Giants and Jets execute a tandem dive in the standings" (NEWSDAY, 11/22).

REALITY TV: In a special to BROADCASTING & CABLE, NBC's Al Michaels wrote, "At a time when 'reality television' is anything but, sports comes the closest to manifesting that designation." At its best, sports are a "wonderful communal experience -- you know you're sharing your viewing pleasure oftentimes with millions or tens of millions of others." But, Michaels wrote, "Here's a word of caution to my peers and colleagues. Don't let the technology overwhelm ... the game itself." Michaels: "Wall-to-wall talk from the booth or every-two-second camera cuts to fans in the stands chewing fingernails is what will get an audience ready to throw shoes at their television sets. Sometimes it's good just to slow it down a little" (, 11/21).