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Volume 24 No. 115


CBS earned a 16.2 overnight Nielsen rating for Jets-Patriots yesterday, which was shown in 92% of U.S. markets. Despite the telecast bleeding into primetime and only two games in that late afternoon window, the overnight was down slightly from a 16.3 rating for the comparable window on Fox in Week 7 last year, which featured the still-undefeated Packers taking on the Vikings in 83% of markets. CBS’ national window peaked at a 21.1 rating in the 7:30pm ET half-hour as the game was in overtime. The net also saw a decline for its regional coverage in the early window, down 29% from Fox' regional coverage last year. Meanwhile, NBC earned an 11.7 overnight for the Steelers-Bengals “SNF” last night, up 43% from the comparable Colts-Saints matchup in Week 7 last year. The game peaked at a 12.2 rating in the 10:30pm window. In Cincinnati, the game earned a 33.5 local rating, while in Pittsburgh, the game earned a 43.9 rating. Fox also saw an uptick for the Week 7 singleheader telecast in the early window, up 20.8% from last year (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

'12 GAME
'11 GAME
% +/-
Jets-Patriots (92%)
Packers-Vikings (83%)

GETTING TONGUE TIED: During overtime of the Jets-Patriots game yesterday afternoon, CBS’ Jim Nantz incorrectly noted the Jets had won the game during a replay review of the game's final play. Jets QB Mark Sanchez was sacked, and the ensuing fumble was recovered by Patriots DL Rob Ninkovich to end the game. While the play was being reviewed, Nantz said, “This is, if it holds up which we expect it will, is going to be a stunner, the biggest underdog of the day in the league.” After the referee confirmed the play was a fumble by the Jets recovered by the Patriots, Nantz said, “The New York Jets stand alone in first place now. The New England Patriots, I should say, at 4 and 3, what an amazing game here. … The Jets put up an incredible fight” (“Jets-Patriots,” CBS, 10/21).

: In Milwaukee, Bob Wolfley wrote "anyone who claims they heard bias” in Fox color analyst Brian Billick's call of yesterday's Packers-Rams game “really must have watched the game with the sound off.” Billick “rhapsodized about the play” of QB Aaron Rodgers, WR Randall Cobb, WR Jordy Nelson and LB Clay Matthews. Cobb’s “versatility clearly dazzled Billick, who marveled that Green Bay had another playmaker to add to their offensive arsenal” (, 10/21). Meanwhile, in Baltimore, David Zurawik writes, "I used to think reviewing any Baltimore Ravens telecast with Dan Dierdorf and Greg Gumbel in the broadcast booth was about as bad as things could get on my beat. But Sunday, I found out there was a much lower rung of hell to which the TV gods could send me: reviewing a Ravens telecast with Dierdorf and Gumbel in the booth and the Ravens playing really, really poorly for most of the game." Dierdorf and Gumbel “came in with a storyline, and they were absolutely unable to shift, modify or re-imagine it to explain what was happening on the field.” But Zurawik writes, "In the interest of fairness to CBS Sports, the pre-game show did an excellent job of covering the Ravens' injury situation coming into the game" (Baltimore SUN, 10/22).

BEHIND THE CURTAIN: In Cincinnati, John Kiesewetter profiled NBC’s "SNF" broadcast team of Al Michaels and Cris Colinsworth leading up to last night's Steelers-Bengals game at Paul Brown Stadium, and noted Michaels and Collinsworth “started their day with an 8:30 a.m. production meeting at a downtown hotel.” Of the nine monitors they view during the game, two "carry the action; one on each end is filled with stats; and 4 are for the isolated replay cameras fed from the 12 video replay sources.” NBC utilized 125 crew members to “produce the game and pregame show” (, 10/21).

DOWN ON THE RANCH: In Dallas, Barry Horn noted local ratings for Cowboys games in the Dallas-Ft. Worth market are down 18% from a year ago, and "no other NFL team has seen such a drop in its hometown audience.” The average weekly rating is down from a 35.3 to 29.1, and the '11 season "was no freak." In the three seasons prior to last year’s 35.3 average, the Cowboys ratings "through five games were: 35.0 in 2010, 32.6 in 2009 and 35.2 in 2008.” The team was “the same 2-3 in 2011 and the Rangers post-season run had to divert some attention." But the time of the games are “not an issue," as in the '11 and '12 seasons, the Cowboys have "played one prime-time game on NBC, one on ESPN and three Sunday afternoons on Fox” (, 10/19).

DRIVING RECOGNITION: In N.Y., Shelly Freierman writes since the network began airing regular-season games in '06, "no game shown on NFL Network has been blacked out" due to a rule allowing those telecasts to be shown over-the-air in local markets. Those local markets "add to the complicated mix of advertising, cable and satellite provider fees, ticket prices and local broadcast rights that make up the intricate NFL broadcast 'economy'" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/22).

NBC is "suddenly on top" of the network primetime ratings this year after being “last among younger viewers for a decade,” according to Bill Carter of the N.Y. TIMES. Among the viewers “prized by most advertisers -- 18- to 49-year-olds -- NBC has beaten its network rivals" each of the first three weeks of the new television season, and NBC is "in contention to post a fourth victory when the Nielsen accounting is official” tomorrow. NBCUniversal President & CEO Steve Burke said that with "SNF" games “making Sunday night an all-but-guaranteed win, the idea was, 'O.K., we’d like to try to win Monday night. And we’ll try to be competitive on Tuesday.'" Carter reports CBS is "likely to get back on track after the new year, partly because it always does because of a largely stable schedule." But the main reason is that it "owns rights to both the AFC championship game in prime time and the Super Bowl" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/22).

: AD AGE’s Brian Steinberg noted “SNF” and Fox' “American Idol” were “virtually neck and neck for top cost" of a 30-second ad during the '11-12 TV season, but "SNF" is now drawing a "budget-busting $545,142, up from $512,367 last season.” Meanwhile, the “average cost of a 30-second spot in the Wednesday edition of ‘Idol’ plummeted from $502,900 last season to $340,825.” A source said that “some spots in the show have moved for as high as $550,000 during the season and more than $1 million for the season finale.” But “taken as a whole, the show now ranks a clear second to football.” Among other sports programming, ABC's college football on Saturday night draws $103,948 for a 30-second spot, while Fox' Saturday night football draws $115,101. NBC's "Football Night in America" show leading into "SNF" draws $104,900 (, 10/21).

"Sunday Night Football"
"American Idol"
"Modern Family"
"New Girl"
"American Idol"


ESPN's Jeff Van Gundy "suggests his brother Stan's failure to land a studio analyst role at ESPN raises big questions about whether ESPN's NBA coverage can be reasonably independent,” according to Michael Hiestand of USA TODAY. Jeff Van Gundy said his brother "had a basic agreement" to become an ESPN/ABC analyst for the nets' studio shows. He added, “There's certainly circumstantial evidence that something from the outside -- presumably the NBA -- changed (ESPN's) thinking. ... As a broadcaster of the NBA, it [gives] you pause. How forthcoming can you be? You don't want your honesty to cost you a chance at employment. This is a shot across the bow." He said of ESPN, "This is an organization that's treated me great. But this raises interesting questions about what a (league-network) partnership means. You have to realize, as a fan, you're not getting the whole truth. ... It seems like there are certain people in each sport that (TV broadcasters) can't criticize, or you can't criticize the league itself.” ESPN VP/Communications Mike Soltys yesterday said, "We had discussions with (Stan) and we were interested in a role for him at ESPN. Ultimately, we moved in a different direction." NBA Senior VP/Marketing Communications Mike Bass:  "It was ESPN and ESPN alone who made any decisions about Stan Van Gundy" (USA TODAY, 10/22). ESPN’s "SportsCenter" referenced the article throughout its morning broadcast today, with anchor Sage Steele saying Jeff Van Gundy “suggests that the NBA blocked” ESPN’s move to hire Stan Van Gundy, “raising questions about the independence of ESPN’s NBA coverage” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 10/22).

SUBTRACTION BY ADDITION? In N.Y., Bob Raissman wrote ESPN’s Jon Barry “got screwed” in being replaced as co-host of “NBA Countdown” by Jalen Rose and Bill Simmons. Barry was the “best thing on ESPN’s rancid ‘NBA Countdown’ studio show.” Perhaps ESPN execs “didn’t appreciate Barry’s backbone.” Unless Rose and Simmons “find a way to put a sock in [Magic] Johnson’s mouth, ‘Countdown’ will be a show in search of yet another new cast for the 2013-14 season” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/21). But in Tampa, Tom Jones writes Simmons is “an interesting addition,” and a “good move by ESPN.” Jones: “Heck, it's a studio show. Why not think out of the box a little? Plus, Rose is superb” (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 10/22).

Fox earned a 5.5 overnight Nielsen rating for the Cardinals-Giants NLCS Game 6 last night from 7:45-10:45pm ET, up 6% from a 5.2 for the net's series-clinching Rangers-Tigers ALCS last year, which aired on a Saturday night. Last night's game aired opposite NBC's "Sunday Night Football" telecast, which drew an 11.7 overnight. Cardinals-Giants drew a 36.9 local rating in St. Louis and a 24.6 rating in the S.F.-Oakland-San Jose market. The St. Louis market is also averaging a 37.3 local rating through six games, marking the best figure for an NLCS involving the Cardinals since '96. Through 10 LCS telecasts, TBS and Fox have combined to average a 4.5 overnight rating, up 10% from last year (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

IN THE ZONE: In Tampa, Tom Jones writes TBS’ Ernie Johnson, Ron Darling and John Smoltz are “really good, as is the studio show featuring Cal Ripken and Dennis Eckersley.” But the net's strike zone graphic in the bottom right corner "for every pitch remains a major distraction.” The graphic “never covered up action, but you couldn't help but look at it after every pitch.” But Jones writes, "Give TBS credit for trying something different” (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 10/22). In Denver, Dusty Saunders writes Brewers play-by-play announcer Brian Anderson was the “unsung hero during much of TBS’ coverage of the division series” (DENVER POST, 10/22). But in N.Y., Phil Mushnick wrote TBS’ postseason coverage was “flabbergasting for its senselessness, for its failure to recognize then show what the heck was going on.” At the completion of Tigers-Yankees ALCS Game 4 on Thursday, TBS "chose to spend a total of 3 (three) seconds on the field, watching the Tigers rush to celebrate, before forcing us to board the last train to Dumbtown.” TBS then went to "an overhead shot, taken from a blimp” that was such a “worthless shot it could have been file footage or been taken in the third inning.” Next, the net “cut to a crowd shot, another worthless view given that ... could have been canned, lifted from the 1999 Ohio State-Michigan game.” TBS “briefly returned us to the field to show some of the celebration, but then it was off again to two more worthless blimp shots and four more worthless crowd shots” (N.Y. POST, 10/21).

DAMN YANKEES: REUTERS’ Baker & Richwine note the World Series, which starts Wednesday between the Tigers and the winner of tonight's Cardinals-Giants NLCS Game 7, “will not include one of the top five U.S. TV markets.” From a ratings standpoint, Fox execs were “no doubt cheering for the Yankees, whose nationwide popularity extends beyond" the N.Y. market. Media buyer Starcom Worldwide Senior VP & Dir of Sports Activation Sam Sussman said either pairing with the Tigers "is definitely not the matchup that marketers or the executives at Fox had hoped for." Sussman added any option "with the Yankees not in it ... doesn't paint a pretty picture from a ratings perspective.” A source said that Fox’ ad projections “anticipate the series going to five games so that a longer championship would be a revenue windfall” (REUTERS, 10/22).

Bleacher Report has seen a doubling in the average daily installations of its Team Stream mobile application since heavy on-air promotion of the app began running during TBS' coverage of the MLB postseason. Turner purchased Bleacher Report in August, and following some initial promotion of the site and app during the PGA Championship, the baseball playoffs represent the network's first major public push behind Team Stream. Since the beginning of October, during which TBS covered the MLB Wild Card Games, all but two games of the LDS and the four-game ALCS, Bleacher Report has averaged about 20,000 daily installations of Team Stream. The figure is roughly twice Bleacher Report's pre-postseason installation daily average for the app, and total installations of Team Stream have now surpassed 2 million. Team Stream offers customized, team-specific news feeds with real-time alerts. Within the Team Stream app, activations of baseball-related news feeds have increased 140%. "The impact has really been phenomenal," said Bleacher Report CEO Brian Grey. "It’s been a very collaborative effort. Turner said right at the outset they were going to get behind this in a big way, and that’s exactly what happened. We're now looking to similar executions for the upcoming NBA season and March Madness next spring."