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Volume 25 No. 66
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NFL Week 1 Overnights: NBC Has Its Best Primetime Game; Fox Sees Several Records

The NFL’s first Sunday of games saw several overnight ratings records set among the league’s broadcast partners. NBC earned an 18.0 overnight rating for QB Peyton Manning’s debut with the Broncos against the Steelers, marking the net’s best regular-season NFL primetime overnight ever. NBC’s previous best was a 17.7 overnight for the Vikings-Saints NFL Kickoff in ’10. The figure is also the NFL’s best regular-season primetime game in 15 years, dating back to Broncos-49ers in Dec. ’97. Denver drew a 44.2 local rating for last night’s game, the best NFL regular-season rating in the market on any net since a 44.5 rating for Raiders-Broncos in Sept. ’03. The Pittsburgh market drew a 51.5 local rating for the game. Steelers-Broncos also delivered NBC a win among all nets in primetime. The game peaked at an 18.7 rating from 9:30-10:00pm ET. Meanwhile, Fox earned a 17.2 overnight for its NFL national window, which featured 49ers-Packers in 87% of markets. That figure marked a Week 1 record for the net. Fox also earned its best Week 1 regional window overnight, which featured Redskins-Saints in 56% of markets (45.6 local rating in New Orleans). That window also marks the NFL’s best Week 1 early window in 11 years. “Fox NFL Sunday” earned a 3.7 overnight, which marked the best figure for any Sunday regular-season NFL pregame show in nine years. The only net to see a Week 1 decline was CBS, whose singleheader in the early window earned a 10.4 overnight, down 2% from last year (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

'12 GAME
'11 GAME
% +/-
49ers-Packers (87%)
Giants-Redskins (63%)

FREEZE FRAME! In Atlanta, Michael Cunningham writes during Fox' coverage of Falcons-Chiefs yesterday in the early window, there were “some minor freeze frames on the telecast” with about nine minutes to go in the first quarter yesterday. There then was “a major freeze” with about seven minutes remaining in the first quarter “with the picture intermittently jerking ahead to show a different frozen image.” The picture “didn’t recover until the start of the second quarter.” Fox announcer Thom Brennaman “never mentioned the technical difficulties during the telecast” (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 9/10).

IN THE RED CORNER: The GLOBE & MAIL's Bruce Dowbiggin writes the "heavyweight champion of morning shows remains" "Fox NFL Sunday," and the star of the panel “remains the volatile Terry Bradshaw.” Bradshaw is “mercurial, funny, moody and a good ol’ boy wrapped into one package” (GLOBE & MAIL, 9/10). Sunday’s edition of the “Fox NFL Sunday” pregame show began with Fox’ Curt Menefee noting the broadcast’s brand-new set and how it was not "just state-of-the-art, but groundbreaking.” Menefee: “This desk actually spins around 360 degrees, we’ve got 179 high-definition monitors, a couple of which are over 100 inches. Plus touchscreens and all kinds of gadgets that will usher a brand-new era here at Fox. In fact, the set is so cool we even have TV up above our heads.” Fox’ Howie Long told Bradshaw, “The set spinning 360 degrees is a lot like being in your head, right?” (“Fox NFL Sunday,” Fox, 9/9).

SHOW ME THE FUNNY: Comedian Rob Riggle made his debut on “Fox NFL Sunday” this weekend, replacing Frank Caliendo as the show's comic relief. The segment was called “Riggle’s Picks” and Riggle, a K.C. native and wearing a Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles jersey, said, “I’m Rob Riggle, the new, I guess you could say, star of ‘Fox NFL Sunday.’ I’m a simple guy with a simple life and now you guys are my bros.” As Riggle was speaking, he was standing in front of large mansion next to a butler and two scantily-clad, attractive women. More Riggle: “There’s nothing I like more than hanging out and talking football with my bros.” At one point, Riggle read in the newspaper there were 31 arrests this offseason for the NFL. He said, “Things are improving. Man, it’s a shame you can’t get fantasy points for DUIs.” The end of the segment featured an appearance by MLS Galaxy MF David Beckham, who asked about the numerous people playing in and around the pool, “Riggle, what’s going on man, and who are all these people?” Riggle: “Becks! Hey, working for the NFL now so I just made myself at home, you know. They told me some football player lives here.” Beckham replied, “Some football player does live here. Me!” Laughing, Riggle said, “No, no, no. Like a real football player.” Looking perturbed, Beckham said, “I am a real football player. … I’m going to call the cops” (“Fox NFL Sunday,” Fox, 9/9).

FASCINATING 'PHINS: In N.Y., Bob Raissman wrote the latest season of HBO's "Hard Knocks" featuring the Dolphins “sizzled,” and was a “riveting roller coaster ride featuring a team with no superstars, no larger-than-life coach, and no meddling owner." Viewers "came away caring about these players, especially the ones who got cut." After a year hiatus, the show “came back strong, again proving it’s the gold standard of sports reality programming” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/9).