The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Sam Schechner writes NBC “long has languished in fourth place among U.S. television networks in prime-time ratings,” but a crush of more than 100 million viewers on Sunday for the Super Bowl XLVI broadcast “could push NBC to No. 3," ahead of ABC in the season ratings race. The “biggest upside -- and biggest challenge -- for NBC is whether it can effectively use the game to promote itself.” NBC during the game “will air many promotions for its shows, most notably for ‘The Voice’ and its musical series ‘Smash.’" Sources said that the network also is “shooting a top-secret promo that involves nearly all the network's stars and has musical elements” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/30).
MANNING THE MAN FOR TV NETS: In N.Y., Bob Raissman wrote if Colts QB Peyton Manning decides to retire and enter TV, he is "not going to start as some fourth-string studio analyst on ESPN or working regional game telecasts for CBS or Fox,” but instead would “start high on the ladder.” We have “no idea if Manning even wants a post-playing career in television,” but if he “wants to yak, there will be plenty of competition for his services.” The network “fortunate enough to hire Manning would not ‘just’ be getting an X’s-and-O’s guy or an iconic star who transcends the game." It would be getting “a man with a personality, too,” and guys like Manning “don’t come along that often” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/29).
GETTING A THUMBS UP: In N.Y., Phil Mushnick notes Knicks radio and TV announcer Spero Dedes for a second straight Friday worked MSG’s Knicks telecast with Walt Frazier and Bernard King, filling in for Mike Breen. Dedes “made it work, and work well.” There was “no stepping on one another, plenty of good basketball chit-chat, a few laughs and Dedes kept a close eye on the game.” Dedes, for a “second straight week, conducted an intelligent basketball telecast for intelligent basketball fans” (N.Y. POST, 1/30).
WITH THE FIRST PICK....: Stats LLC has signed a deal with First Round Exchange, a Tennessee-based developer of interactive games, to create a new NFL fantasy draft game entitled "Play The Draft." Users pick prospective draft picks in advance of the chart, with scoring then determined by their actual selection order in April's NFL draft. ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. is serving an adviser to First Round Exchange in "Play The Draft," and will participate in the game (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).