NBA All-Star Game Overnight Up 9%; Saturday Night Ranks Fourth Best For TNT
TNT earned a 5.9 overnight Nielsen rating for the NBA All-Star Game last night, up 9% from a 5.4 overnight for last year’s game, which aired up against the Academy Awards. The 5.9 overnight is down 5% from a 6.2 in ’11 and up 17% from a 4.6 in ’10. Meanwhile, TNT earned a 4.3 overnight for coverage NBA All-Star Saturday Night -- which featured the Sears Shooting Stars competition, Taco Bell Skills Challenge, Foot Locker Three-Point Contest and Sprite Slam Dunk Contest -- down slightly from a 4.4 overnight last year, but still the fourth-best figure in the net’s 28-year history with the event (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). In Tampa, Tom Jones writes TNT's coverage of Saturday night's NBA All-Star Game festivities overall was “pretty good.” The skills competition is “getting a bit tired, but the NBA is smart enough to keep the action moving.” Jones: “Unfortunately, the marquee event of the night -- the slam-dunk contest -- is becoming a bore” (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 2/18).
CHUCK WAGON: Twitter was filled with commentary during the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest. The commentary by TNT's Charles Barkley during the broadcast was a hot topic. HoopsWorld.com’s Alex Kennedy wrote, “Charles Barkley's commentary has been the most entertaining part of this dunk contest.” Grantland’s Bryan Curtis: “Most amazing part of that was Charles Barkley advising viewers to turn it off. That might be a sportscasting milestone.” NFL Network’s Molly Qerim: “The only thing entertaining about this Dunk Contest is Charles Barkley.” Bears sideline reporter Zach Zaidman: “Charles Barkley's commentary is the only reason to keep watching the dunk contest. It's been ‘turrible.’” ESPN's Kevin Negandhi: "The only 50 tonight belongs to Charles Barkley." Yahoo Sports Radio’s Sean Pendergast: “Eventually All Star Saturday will just consist of Charles Barkley standing in the middle of the floor with an open mic for three hours.”
SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT: TNT's Ernie Johnson following the All-Star Game issued a correction for comments analyst Reggie Miller made late in the fourth quarter. He said, "Earlier tonight, in the course of the telecast of the All-Star Game, an article was referenced about Michael Jordan and it was said on the telecast that it was on Bleacher Report. That is incorrect. It was an article written by Wright Thompson of ESPN.com. It was an error and we admit it and we regret it. We want to make the record clear.” Miller during the game cited Bleacher Report's Timothy Rapp as writing the story in question (“2013 NBA All-Star Game,” TNT, 2/17).
GOING TOO FAR? The TAMPA BAY TIMES' Jones notes Barkley last week on “Inside the NBA” “took a shot at his rival school after four Alabama football players were arrested in connection with a pair of robberies” on Feb. 10. Barkley's head was “wrapped in a big white bandage stained with fake blood.” Barkley said to Johnson, “I got mugged in Tuscaloosa, Ernie, and my credit cards are missing." Analyst Kenny Smith said, "You're such an Alabama hater. Why don't you leave those kids alone, man?" Barkley replied, "Oh, it's my fault they're mugging people?" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 2/18). In Birmingham, Kevin Scarbinsky wrote to Barkley, "It is your fault that you think two Alabama students getting attacked on campus by Alabama football players, getting kicked in the ribs and back and knocked unconscious, is funny" (AL.com, 2/15).