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Volume 24 No. 114
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Fox, ESPN See Record Audience During NFL Week 1, While NBC Has Mixed Bag

Fox finished with a 16.6 final rating and 28.5 million viewers for its NFL national window on Sunday, marking the net’s best Week 1 audience on record for a national window. Sunday’s telecast, which featured Packers-49ers, was up 8% compared to the net’s national window in Week 1 last year, which featured the same matchup. The national window was also the best audience for any program on TV since ABC’s “Academy Awards” telecast in February. Fox’ regional coverage in the early window averaged a 9.0 rating and 14.7 million viewers, marking the net’s best viewership for Week 1 and second-best rating.

: ESPN’s Eagles-Redskins opener finished with a 10.1 rating and 16.5 million viewers, marking the best audience for a “MNF” opener since the net acquired "MNF" rights prior to the ’06 season. Eagles-Redskins topped the previous best Week 1 audience set by Ravens-Jets in ’10 (9.4 rating, 15.0 million viewers) and was up from a 7.0 rating and 10.9 million viewers for Bengals-Ravens in the “MNF” opener last year. The game also beat the audience for all but one “MNF” telecast last season. Overall, Eagles-Redskins ranks as the fourth-best audience on cable TV for ’13 to date. In the late “MNF” window, Texans-Chargers earned a 7.1 rating and 11.1 million viewers, up from a 6.8 rating and 10.5 million viewers for Chargers-Raiders in the late window last year.

MIXED BAG: NBC finished with a 15.0 rating and 25.4 million viewers for the Giants-Cowboys “SNF” telecast, down 9% and 8%, respectively, from a 16.5 rating and 27.6 million viewers for the comparable Steelers-Broncos game last year, which featured the return of QB Peyton Manning. Despite the drop, “SNF” was the most-viewed primetime program across all nets last week. Meanwhile, NBC’s Ravens-Broncos telecast last Thursday finished with a 14.9 rating and 25.1 million viewers, marking the third-best rating for an NFL Kickoff game. The game was also up 1% and 5%, respectively, from a 14.7 rating and 23.9 million viewers for Cowboys-Giants last year, which aired on a Wednesday night to accommodate the Democratic National Convention. Ravens-Broncos also was the second-best audience in primetime across all nets last week (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).

THE HUB TUNED IN: CBS earned a 30.8 local rating in Boston for Patriots-Bills on Sunday, marking the second-best early-afternoon opener for the Patriots since '01. The only other Patriots opener with a 1:00pm ET start to top those numbers in the last 12 years was last season's game against the Titans (33.5 local rating) (Patriots).

COWHER DOESN'T COWER: THE MMQB's Richard Deitsch wrote of CBS analyst Bill Cowher's work on "The NFL Today,": "Each year I’m more impressed with his work on a show that has long been a mixed bag." Cowher "did a nice job" on Sunday "diagramming how to defend the Pistol formation and explained in lay terms why the read-option provides a level of comfort for young quarterbacks who are used to playing in open space." Deitsch: "Each time I interview Cowher, I become more convinced he’s never going back into coaching." Meanwhile, CBSSN's Amy Trask wrote in an e-mail that she "would grade herself as a C-minus" in regard to her "That Other Pregame Show" debut on Sunday. Trask: "I gave myself an F in some regards, and in a few instances, an A. There was not enough A and B work to offset the D and F work, so that’s why there is a minus sign next to the C." She added that one of the things she "needs to work on is not pausing before answering questions" (, 9/10).

CARDS GET NEW SHOW: FS Arizona is adding a first-of-its-kind postgame show called "Cardinals OT," which debuts this Sunday. The 60-minute program will be taped from Univ. of Phoenix Stadium after home games and replayed later that night so fans attending the game are able to watch it as well. The show will be hosted by Jody Jackson, and she will be joined by analysts Glenn Parker and Bertrand Berry. Radio announcers Dave Pasch and Ron Wolfley also will appear on the show, along with Paul Calvisi. Brad Steinke will fill in for Jackson during Sunday's debut (FS Arizona).