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Volume 24 No. 114
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NFL Week 11 Overnights: Colts-Patriots Gives CBS A Bump From Last Year

CBS led all NFL broadcasts yesterday with a 14.8 overnight Nielsen rating for its national window, which featured Colts-Patriots in 51% of markets and Chargers-Broncos in 49%. That figure is up 4% from a 14.2 overnight for the comparable Week 11 national window last year, which featured Chargers-Bears. The overrun from the NFL national window also led CBS to a win for the night over NBC. “SNF” earned a 12.2 overnight for the Ravens-Steelers matchup last night, which was down 13% from the Eagles-Giants in Week 11 last year. "SNF" peaked at a 12.6 rating in the 9:00pm ET window. The Ravens-Steelers game earned a 47.8 local rating in Pittsburgh and a 39.0 rating in Baltimore. With Browns-Cowboys and Jaguars-Texans both going to OT yesterday in the 1:00pm window, CBS saw its regional overnight jump 33% from last year. Meanwhile, Fox saw its Week 11 singleheader overnight down 16.5% (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

'12 GAME
'11 GAME
% +/-
Colts-Patriots (51%),
Chargers-Broncos (49%)
Chargers-Bears (79%)

AROUND THE TUBE: In Baltimore, David Zurawik writes NBC's "SNF" telecast "lives on another planet so far away from the nearest competition that it can't even be judged by the same standards." Zurawik: "I swear, you could put the next best three NFL analysts in a booth together, and they wouldn't open the game up for the average fan the way" NBC analyst Cris Collinsworth routinely does. "SNF" Exec Producer Fred Gaudelli's team "was sublime" (Baltimore SUN, 11/19). In N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes NFL Network on Thursday "placed us in the hand of analyst Mike Mayock, who again attempted to break his own record for the use of 'I,' 'me' and 'my.'" Most plays "brought a lecture -- no matter that none of us signed up for a lecture series; we just tuned in to watch the game." But the telecast was "shellacked in Mayockian, including 'eye discipline' (apparently the ability to see what one is looking for) and 'two-level routes,' which I surmised is when two guys go out for a pass, one deeper than the the other" (N.Y. POST, 11/19). In Dallas, Barry Horn writes yesterday "had to be [CBS'] Dan Dierdorf's first assignment at Cowboys Stadium." That can be the "only explanation for any game analyst to call it, 'a tough environment.'" But it is "no excuse." Dierdorf's "best line came midway through the second quarter with the Cowboys trailing, 10-0." He said, "This is a Cowboys offense that has been practicing all week but it doesn't look like it" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 11/19).

A NEW THANKSGIVING NIGHT TRADITION:'s Peter King reports Pro Football HOFer John Madden will introduce NBC's coverage of Patriots-Jets Thursday night "focusing on his Thanksgiving tradition of football, family and food." The net will then "inaugurate the John Madden Thanksgiving Player of the Game." The idea came from Collinsworth, who replaced Madden in the "SNF" booth, and was instituted by NBC Sports Dir Drew Esocoff. King: "I'm looking forward to seeing Madden's ode to turkey and football" (, 11/19).

DITKA TALKS ABOUT STROKE: ESPN’s Mike Ditka called into ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning” today to discuss his health. Ditka suffered a minor stroke Friday, but was released from a Chicago-area hospital yesterday morning. He said, “I was kind of like driving down the highway of life real fast and I had a flat tire. That's what happened. … I think I'm okay. You don't expect those things to happen. They come up on you, it really opens your eyes. I knew everything that was happening, but I couldn't do anything about anything that was happening. So I feel pretty good right now. I really do. I think everything will be okay” (“Mike & Mike in the Morning,” ESPN Radio, 11/19). Ditka was absent from ESPN's "Sunday NFL Countdown" yesterday, and show host Chris Berman said, "We're playing a man down this morning. Coach Mike Ditka suffered a minor stroke Friday in Chicago. ... He's told us everything is okay. He'll be back with us soon, right here" ("Sunday NFL Countdown," ESPN, 11/18). NBC’s Bob Costas said, “We want to extend our best wishes to our former colleague and one of the major figures in the history of the league. ... We hope the coach is back on the air very soon” (“Football Night in America,” NBC, 11/18).

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT: In N.Y., Bob Raissman noted the competition for Sunday morning NFL pregame viewers "has been steadily growing," and it is "eating into the ratings of ESPN's 'NFL Countdown' pregame show." It is "not just competition on the national level from the NFL Network, which may as well start its pregame at midnight, but an increased number of local shows, produced by NFL teams, are also siphoning viewers." When this "kind of stuff happens the suits look at the product." One area that "likely is being examined is the cast." Raissman: "Could the winds of change eventually blow in their direction? Stay tuned" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/18).