FS1 last week posted its most-watched week both in primetime and total day since its August inception, buoyed by a record-setting audience for Oklahoma-Baylor football, plus UFC and NASCAR events. The channel averaged 630,000 viewers in primetime and 157,000 viewers total day last week, surpassing the previous high between Aug. 26-Sept. 1 (384,000 prime; 153,000 total day). Oklahoma-Baylor last Thursday now is FS1's most-watched telecast ever with 2.1 million viewers, surpassing every college football game on sister net FX in '12. The previous most-watched program on FS1 was "UFC Fight Night" on Aug. 17 with 1.8 million viewers. "Fox Sports Live" recorded its best weeknight viewership ever for the first and second hours, averaging 161,000 and 85,000 viewers, respectively. Last Thursday's edition of "Fox Sports Live," which followed Oklahoma-Baylor was the most-watched weeknight episode of the show to date with 341,000 viewers (Fox Sports). In Oklahoma City, Mel Bracht reported the Oklahoma-Baylor game "topped the week with a 20.6 local rating" on FS1, the "highest in-state rating for the new channel." Meanwhile, the Kansas-Oklahoma State telecast Saturday afternoon, also on FS1, got a 9.3 local rating (NEWSOK.com, 11/12). In California, Michael Lev writes FS1 "has a long way to go," but its higher ratings last week are an "encouraging sign" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 11/15).
BLOOMIN' ONIONS: On Long Island, Neil Best writes FS1 "had the sense to name Bill Raftery its lead analyst" in college basketball, "providing instant credibility and a bridge to the past." It was "nice for Raftery, too." When Fox bought rights to the Big East, it "quickly moved to sign Raftery, pairing him with Gus Johnson as its top team." They debuted together last Friday for Boston College vs. Providence, one of 35 to 40 games Raftery will work for Fox. Given Fox' "self-appointed mandate as home of sports TV 'fun,' the playful, catchphrase-spouting Raftery, who is 70 but does not act his age, is a nice fit." He also will "continue to work for CBS, including the NCAA Tournament, a perk he said made his decision to go to Fox easier." Raftery added that Fox' "commitment to the Big East reminds him of its early days on ESPN, where the league played a key role in the evolution of a new media entity." He said, "The nice thing for everybody is that it's the only college conference they have total rights to. Fox has input into what games they want on, and the league starts with financing" (NEWSDAY, 11/15).