For the four traditional Sunday windows in Week 4, the NFL saw overnight ratings rise by 7%. CBS and NBC led the way with matching 12.3 ratings for both the Sunday national window and “SNF.” CBS featured Saints-Giants in 74% of U.S. markets yesterday as part of the NFL using cross-flex, and that led to a 14% ratings gain for the national window. The other game featured for CBS was 49ers-Chargers. Last year, CBS featured Raider-Broncos in 94% of the country, drawing a 10.8 overnight. CBS also saw a 14% gain for regional action in the early Sunday afternoon window. Meanwhile, NBC last night got another primetime win with Ravens-Steelers on “SNF.” The 12.3 rating was up 12% from Colts-Seahawks last year in Week 4. Pittsburgh led all markets with a 42.7 local rating, followed by Baltimore with a 32.3. For Fox’ singleheader window yesterday, the net bumped up national distribution of Browns-Raiders for QB Baker Mayfield’s first start, but the Raiders’ 45-32 win in OT did not help out the rating. Fox was down 7% from last year in the window. One benefit Fox did have last year was a lead-in from Saints-Dolphins from London. That fifth Sunday window in Week 4 last year drew a 4.8 overnight in the morning. There has not been a London game this season to date (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).
NFL WEEK 4 SUNDAY OVERNIGHT RATINGS
NOTES: Week 4 last season also included a Sunday morning window on Fox from London, which drew a 4.8 overnight. That number is not factored into the ratings chart above.
FADE ROUTE: In Dallas, Brad Townsend noted Jimmy Johnson is still in the Fox NFL Studio on Sundays, but his "appearances have been sporadic." Johnson: "I requested to cut back on my time rather than to retire. I'm under contract this year and next but have told Fox that I'm taking it year-to-year." The "relatively youthful-looking" Johnson turned 75 in July. He told Fox that he would "appear in [the] network's Hollywood studio during the hour-long Sunday pre-game show, but would not stay for the halftime or post-game shows." Tony Gonzalez then "suddenly appears in Johnson's chair." Perhaps it "seems illogical for Johnson to fly 5,800 miles round-trip to appear on-camera for basically an hour per week," but Fox no doubt "pays him handsomely to do so." The net is "wise to cull as much insight from Johnson as it can, for as long as it can" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 10/1).
SPICE IT UP: Joe Buck said that Fox officials were encouraging him and analyst Troy Aikman to "have a less rigid broadcast" on "Thursday Night Football" in terms of the "conversation between the on-air talent." Buck: "Someone comes to you from 'The Big Bang Theory' and they flip on this game, I don't think you can be textbook, cut-and-dry talking about two-deep zones. You have to bring other stuff in and have fun and interact as a group." THE ATHLETIC's Richard Deitsch writes Buck and Aikman seemed a "little more free-flowing with their in-game conversation" during Vikings-Rams this past Thursday, and it "felt like they had more time to discuss things compared to a Sunday afternoon game" (THEATHLETIC.com, 10/1).
The NFL has the "power to pull the plug on the Sunday Ticket arrangement with DirecTV," and if exercised, the contract "would expire" after the '19 regular season, according to Mike Florio of PRO FOOTBALL TALK. A source said that despite some speculation of a "looming announcement that the league will exit the DirecTV deal early," the decision "isn’t final, and that the league ultimately may decide to stick with the current deal." The question for the league to address is "whether streaming has overtaken satellite." The league "could do both, selling the global streaming and satellite rights for Sunday Ticket to, for example, one of the major tech companies, which could then carve out the satellite rights and sell them, maybe back to DirecTV" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 9/30). DirecTV currently pays the NFL around $1.5B per season(THE DAILY).
Jemele Hill, who left ESPN last month, will be joining The Atlantic as a staff writer beginning this month and will be "writing for both the magazine and TheAtlantic.com," according to James Andrew Miller of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The Atlantic Editor-in-Chief Jeffrey Goldberg said, "She’s interested in something I’ve been preoccupied with for a long time, which is the intersection of sports and race and politics. I think it’s one of the best beats in America." He added, "I’m not sure that ESPN is particularly interested, especially in television, in standing at the intersection of sports and culture and race and gender and politics. It can be a pretty dangerous corner for some people. But that’s exactly the intersection that I want to be at." Hill said of her departure from ESPN, "It just kind of became obvious to me that the relationship -- as good and as fruitful and as beneficial as it was -- had really run its course." She added, "It was about the fact that I can’t commit to something that I know isn’t right for me, that I know isn’t going to bring out the best in me, and that I know is going to be kind of a waste of time." Hill: "So much has happened in the last year that I felt like this is as an appropriate time as ever to spread my wings in different ways that I hadn’t really thought of before, or that I knew were possible" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 10/1).
TWITTER REAX: Rolling Stone's Jamil Smith: "I want to congratulate my friend @jemelehill on her new gig, but I should first give kudos to @TheAtlantic for being smart enough to hire her. Great move, all around." Vibe Magazine's William Ketchum III: "Man, @jemelehill is so inspiring. She keeps ascending on her own terms. Also dope because so many people would see ESPN as the pinnacle as a sports journalist. Huge reminder that we can always go higher, and that *we* we create value, not just the company that signs the check." The Atlantic's David Graham: "Hot damn!" Middlebury assistant professor James Sanchez: "Hill being picked up by The Atlantic is the best free agent move of 2018. Period."
TBS’ Ernie Johnson announced on Instagram he will not broadcast any MLB postseason games because of blood clots in both of his legs. Doctors have advised against him flying due to his condition, and Johnson said, “I felt like I should at least let you know what’s going on.” Johnson said he “talked to the bosses at Turner” and his family, and the “best course of action is to just stay grounded at this point.” Johnson: “During this time when you’re doing the playoffs, there are a lot of flights in a compressed time and blood clots are nothing to be messed with. As tough as it is for me to miss baseball’s postseason, it’s the thing to do. So I’m gearing up, staying on the ground, getting ready for basketball” (INSTAGRAM.com, 10/1). Don Orsillo "will replace" Johnson on one of TBS' division series (TWITTER.com, 10/1).
HOMETOWN HEROES: In N.Y., Bob Raissman wrote under the header, "Local Baseball Voices -- Like Michael Kay -- Continue To Be Lost From Playoff Broadcasts." Yankee fans will "get a steady diet" of TBS commentators if they continue to advance in the postseason. There is "no problem with that," but there will always be "plenty of pushback from fans who would rather watch/listen" to Kay and YES Network analysts (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/30).
Finishing with a 77-85 record, the Mets "haven’t played a meaningful game in months and the only reason to keep watching" is because of the SNY booth of play-by-play announcer Gary Cohen and analysts Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling, according to a profile by Devin Gordon of N.Y. TIMES MAGAZINE. Together, they are simply “Gary Keith and Ron” -- a "singular pronoun that unites the three Magi of Mets Nation, our best-in-class broadcast team, and the only thing we get to lord over Yankee fans." But it is seasons like '18 when the trio "really earn their collective paycheck." Too many booths are "occupied by people with nothing to say." But with SNY, listeners "never know what someone (Keith) might say." The SNY booth also is akin to family relatives, "whom we learn from and who make us laugh and whose emotions are riding the same roller coaster as our own." Perhaps the trio represents an "alternate strategy for attacking baseball’s existential crisis: fix the game itself, yes, but fix the conversation around it too" (N.Y. TIMES MAGAZINE, 9/25).
SUBWAY SERIES: In N.Y., Richard Morgan notes the Mets' rating on SNY was 2.12 for the season as of Saturday -- down 8.2% from the 2.31 rating during the same period last year. The Yankees, by comparison, are up 1.4% on YES Network (3.62 vs 3.57) (NYPOST.com, 9/30).