Fox earned a 5.9 overnight Nielsen rating for the Giants’ 9-0 win over the Cardinals in Game 7 of the NLCS from 8:00-11:45pm ET, which had competition from the Lions-Bears “MNF” telecast on ESPN (7.3 overnight) and the last of the presidential debates. Fox’ last LCS Game 7 was Red Sox-Indians in ’07, which earned a 13.5 overnight on a Sunday night. The net’s last NLCS Game 7, Cardinals-Mets in ’06, earned a 12.5 overnight on a Thursday. Last night’s game peaked at a 6.9 rating from 8:30-9:00pm, the half-hour before the debate coverage began. With the game already out of hand by the time the debate ended, Fox only got a 6.5 rating during the game’s final 15 minutes. In S.F.-Oakland-San Jose, the game earned a 27.5 rating, while in St. Louis, the game got a 31.8 rating. Despite the competition, Fox drew the best overnight for any MLB postseason game on any net to date. Fox also saw it best Monday night audience since the Daytona 500 was bumped to a Monday in February.
TOUGH COMPETITION: ESPN’s 7.3 overnight for “MNF” last night was up from a 7.0 for the comparable Ravens-Jaguars in Week 7 last year. That game aired against Fox’ Cardinals-Rangers World Series Game 5. “MNF” last night peaked at an 8.9 rating from 10:45-11:00pm. Meanwhile, NBC, ABC and CBS combined for a 22.3 overnight for the last of the presidential debates last night. That debate is expected to be the least-viewed of the three debates (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).
BROKEN RECORD: In S.F., Al Saracevic notes Giants fans “have been killing” Fox' Joe Buck “for his perceived anti-Giants bias and pro-Cardinals slant.” Buck “came up calling Cardinal games,” and his broadcast partner Tim McCarver is a “former catcher who spent most of his playing career with the Cardinals.” When “asked about that perception … Buck shrugged resignedly, like a man who'd answered the same question a thousand times.” Buck said, “We get it everywhere we go. It's not unique to San Francisco. It doesn't matter where we are” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 10/23).
Univ. of Texas football coach Mack Brown yesterday "expressed some concerns" about the team's relationship with Longhorn Network, such as the "time commitment from him as well as if opponents may be gaining a competitive advantage" from watching it, according to Chip Brown of ORANGEBLOODS.com. Mack Brown "maintains LHN can be great exposure for Texas players, assistant coaches and for the school itself and is an incredible product for fans." However, Brown said that he "knows opponents are watching LHN content, which includes three shows featuring Brown breaking down Texas and opponents; an 'All-Access' show on Wednesdays; as well as the first 8 periods of practices." UT has added "two full-time staffers in the sports information department in the past year to help handle the production demands of LHN." Brown said that he is "spending six hours a week minimum preparing, participating or traveling to the studio for shows that air on LHN." Brown: "There's no question it takes away some of your time. And when you do a show, if your mind is somewhere else, you're screwing that up, too." He added, "I'm the soldier. If they tell me to go work with Longhorn Network, I'm going to do it, and I'm going to do it to try to help our football team the best I can." Brown said that UT Associate AD/Football Media Relations John Bianco watches LHN "to make sure ESPN isn't showing content that could be an advantage for opponents" (ORANGEBLOODS.com, 10/22). In San Antonio, Mike Finger notes Brown "stopped short of directly blaming LHN for his team's on-field struggles but called the network's non-stop coverage 'a difficult situation.'" UT men's AD DeLoss Dodds said the issues Brown raised with the media were "easy fixes" and LHN remains "a great advantage to our student-athletes" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 10/23).
THEY ASKED FOR IT: In Austin, Kirk Bohls writes when Brown "complains that he has to commit too much time to his duties with the Longhorn Network, it smacks of blatant hypocrisy." Bohls: "Texas is overexposed because, well, Texas sought the extra exposure. Go figure." His "own school pursued 24/7 coverage of all things burnt orange" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 10/23). In Ft. Worth, Mac Engel asked, "What were Brown and UT expecting when they agreed to a 20-year deal with ESPN for $300 million -- all softball all the time?" Engel: "The only way this network was going to be sold to more cable carriers was increased access to a football team that wins a lot. Softball and women's soccer isn't going to cut it" (STAR-TELEGRAM.com, 10/22). YAHOO SPORTS' Frank Schwab wrote, "To think that Oklahoma beat Texas 63-21 because of the network ... is flat out preposterous. To think that Texas can't tackle anyone this season because Mack Brown has to drive to the network studios to answer some questions is absurd." To think "that opponents are winning because of things they pick up on the Longhorn Network ... is paranoia at its most extreme." The whole thing "comes off as whining in the worst way" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 10/22). In San Antonio, Buck Harvey writes under the header, "Poor Mack: The Great Salesman Is Tone Deaf" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 10/23).
ESPN announced that it has signed sportscaster Dan Shulman to a multiyear extension. Shulman will continue to serve as play-by-play announcer for "Sunday Night Baseball," as well as the net's Saturday primetime men’s college basketball telecasts and ESPN Radio’s coverage of the MLB postseason. Shulman has been with ESPN since '95 (ESPN). SI.com's Richard Deitsch wrote Shulman is the "best play-by-play announcer at his network, and ESPN has wisely signed him." The move is “great news for viewers." The one change coming is that Shulman “will no longer do NBA games -- something he asked for in order to spend more time with his three teenage children in his native Toronto.” Sources said that Shulman will do “about 75 events or so for ESPN during a calendar year.” Deitsch noted whether Shulman and Orel Hershiser will call “Sunday Night Baseball” “with a third person in the wake of Terry Francona's departure to the Indians is still to be decided.” Shulman said that he “does not have preference between a two- or three-person booth” (SI.com, 10/22).
PEOPLE & PERSONALITIES: In Tampa, Tom Jones wrote he is "more convinced than ever" following Saturday's South Carolina-Florida game that CBS' Gary Danielson "is the second-best college football analyst, behind ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit.” Danielson was “in top form Saturday, mixing hard-core football talk with humor” (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 10/22)....The Thunder announced the hiring of Lesley McCaslin as their new courtside/web reporter and host for broadcasts on FS Oklahoma. McCaslin previously worked as an anchor and reporter for FS Southwest (Thunder)....Former MLBer Chris Duncan was “back on the air, albeit briefly, Monday,” following a three-week hiatus from St. Louis' WXOS-FM. Duncan said the cause was "a tumor in my head,” which has been removed. Duncan works with Randy Karraker and former NFLer D'Marco Farr on the "highest-rated local sports-talk show in the St. Louis market” (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/23)....Former NFLer Channing Crowder has joined WQAM-AM in Miami “on a full-time basis.” Crowder “replaces Steve Goldstein as Adam Kuperstein’s co-host weekdays” from 1:00-3:00pm ET (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 10/20).