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Volume 24 No. 158

Media

The NBA’s slate of five Christmas Day games was led by ABC’s telecast of Thunder-Heat in the 5:30pm ET window, with the game drawing a 6.0 overnight rating to mark the net’s fourth-highest NBA regular-season rating ever. The NBA last year opened its season on Christmas, and the comparable Bulls-Lakers matchup in the same 5:30pm window drew a 6.5 overnight. In ’10, when the season was well under way, the 5:30pm game (Heat-Lakers) on ABC drew a 7.3 overnight, which remains the second-best regular-season overnight for the net. Meanwhile, ABC drew a 5.9 overnight for Knicks-Lakers in the 3:00pm window, marking the net’s best Christmas Day early-window overnight on record.

ON CABLE: ESPN also fared well for its slate of three games on Christmas, with the net having its best tripleheader average ever (2.1 overnight). The Celtics-Nets matchup in the 12:00pm window led the way with a 2.7 overnight, which was down from a 4.1 rating for Knicks-Celtics in the same window on TNT last year, but flat compared to ESPN’s Bulls-Knicks game in ’10. Rockets-Bulls at 8:00pm earned a 1.7 overnight, compared to a 1.9 for Magic-Thunder last year and a 1.4 for Nuggets-Thunder in ’10. In the late window (10:30pm), Nuggets-Clippers earned a 2.0 overnight, down from a 2.3 overnight for Clippers-Warriors last year and up big from a 1.3 for Trail Blazers-Warriors in ’10.

NBA CHRISTMAS DAY OVERNIGHT RATINGS
WINDOW
'12 MATCHUP
NET
RAT.
12:00pm
Celtics-Nets
ESPN
2.7
3:00pm
Knicks-Lakers
ABC
5.9
5:30pm
Thunder-Heat
ABC
6.0
8:00pm
Rockets-Bulls
ESPN
1.7
10:30pm
Nuggets-Clippers
ESPN
2.0
WINDOW
'11 MATCHUP
NET
RAT.
12:00pm
Knicks-Celtics
TNT
4.1
3:00pm
Heat-Mavericks
ABC
5.6
5:30pm
Bulls-Lakers
ABC
6.5
8:00pm
Magic-Thunder
ESPN
1.9
10:30pm
Clippers-Warriors
ESPN
2.3
WINDOW
'10 MATCHUP
NET
RAT.
12:00pm
Bulls-Knicks
ESPN
2.7
3:00pm
Celtics-Magic
ABC
5.3
5:30pm
Heat-Lakers
ABC
7.3
8:00pm
Nuggets-Thunder
ESPN
1.4
10:30pm
Trail Blazers-Warriors
ESPN
1.3

The NFL has moved the Week 17 Cowboys-Redskins game, which will decide the winner of the NFC East, to NBC's "Sunday Night Football" as part of the league's flex scheduling component. The Dolphins-Patriots game has been moved to 4:25pm ET on CBS, while Packers-Vikings -- highlighted by Adrian Peterson's attempt to break the record for single-season rushing yards -- will air at 4:25pm on Fox. Most markets will get an afternoon doubleheader on both CBS and Fox (NFL). In Dallas, Barry Horn wrote officials at NBC "are beaming" from the move, while Fox execs "are steaming." This marks the second straight season the NFL "has handed the NFC East title game to Sunday Night Football, leaving the Foxies wondering what the network of the NFC has to do to get the conference's ultimate regular-season game in its prime late Sunday afternoon time slot." The Packers-Vikings game includes a "wild-card spot at stake for the Vikings" in addition to Peterson's pursuit of Pro Football HOFer Eric Dickerson's record, but that is "hamburger compared with the prime cut the NFL served up to its favorite prime-time partner" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 12/24).

16 CANDLES
: Fox led all Week 16 NFL broadcasts with a 17.0 overnight rating for the Ravens’ rout of the Giants in the Sunday NFL national window. That figure is up 16% from a 14.7 overnight for the comparable Week 16 national window last year, which featured Eagles-Cowboys. Fox also saw an increase for its regional window (+15%). Meanwhile, NBC earned a 12.6 overnight for the Seahawks' blowout win over the 49ers on “SNF,” giving the net a win for the night in primetime. The 12.6 overnight is flat compared to Christmas night broadcast of Bears-Packers in Week 16 last year. 49ers-Seahawks earned a 34.2 local rating in the Seattle-Tacoma market and a 23.7 rating in the S.F.-Oakland-San Jose market. CBS earned an 11.6 overnight for its singleheader coverage, up 32% from last year (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

NFL WEEK 16 OVERNIGHT NIELSEN RATINGS
NET
'12 GAME
RAT.
'11 GAME
RAT.
% +/-
CBS
(single)
11.6
(single)
8.8
31.8%
Fox
(regional)
10.6
(regional)
9.2
15.2%
Fox
Giants-Ravens (83%)
17.0
Eagles-Cowboys (88%)
14.7
15.6%
NBC
49ers-Seahawks
12.6
Bears-Packers
12.6
0.0%

THE SEASON OF GIVING PRAISE: In Denver, Dusty Saunders wrote CBS analyst Dan Fouts "gets better with age." Fouts' experience as an NFL QB showed in Week 16 as he "often reacted as though he were in the Denver huddle" during the Browns-Broncos game. Meanwhile, Ian Eagle, Fouts' broadcast partner, is an "underrated, versatile broadcaster" who has a "concise style, free of the extraneous dialogue so prevalent in many NFL play-by-play men" (DENVER POST, 12/24). In Baltimore, David Zurawik wrote it was a "pleasure ... to get the first team from Fox for the telecast of a Ravens game rather than the second or third crew from CBS" for the team's game Sunday against the Giants. The camera work "was sharp, focused and engaging," and the replays were "downright stunning." The net "seemed to have three and even four angles on almost every replay." Zurawik: "The entire production was on another planet compared to CBS. ... The field level, end zone cameras shot up into the stands and the lights and the Baltimore night making you feel as if you were standing on the field at M&T Bank Stadium" (BALTIMORESUN.com, 12/23).

FATHER KNOWS BEST: USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand noted Fox studio analyst Howie Long "rarely mentions" his son, Rams DE Chris Long, while on air. Long "doesn't like talking about his son's play publicly, to the point that some viewers might forget he has a son playing in the NFL." Long: "I've always purposely stayed away from that. My concern is that it would become all about me" (USA TODAY, 12/24).

NOT READY FOR PRIMETIME PLAYERS: In Detroit, Gene Myers noted the 4-11 Lions played four primetime games this season, but they will finish "with double-digit losses (for the 10th time in 12 seasons) and football teams with double-digit losses rarely land on the NBC and ESPN prime-time telecasts." Ten teams lost at least 10 games last season, and "none was scheduled for a Sunday nighter." The Panthers and Redskins were the only such teams "scheduled for a Monday nighter," but that was at least partly due to the presence of QBs Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III, respectively (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 12/23).