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Volume 26 No. 181
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Bengals-Steelers Likely ESPN’s Lowest Week 4 “MNF” Audience

Bengals-Steelers peaked early last night, drawing an 8.7 rating from 9:15-9:30pm ET
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Bengals-Steelers peaked early last night, drawing an 8.7 rating from 9:15-9:30pm ET
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Bengals-Steelers peaked early last night, drawing an 8.7 rating from 9:15-9:30pm ET
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

ESPN last night drew a 7.6 overnight for the Steelers’ 27-3 win over the Bengals, likely marking the net’s least-watched Week 4 “MNF” game on record (dating back to ’06). The previous Week 4 low was an 8.0 overnight for Colts-Buccaneers in ’11 (Colts were without Peyton Manning that season due to a neck injury). Last year, Chiefs-Broncos in Week 4 drew a 9.1 overnight. Last night’s game peaked early, drawing an 8.7 rating from 9:15-9:30pm ET. The game drew a 25.1 local rating in Cincinnati (10.2 on ESPN, 14.9 on WLWT-NBC), while Pittsburgh drew a 40.8 rating (11.9 on ESPN, 28.9 on WTAE-ABC) (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

CIRCLING THE WAGONS: In Buffalo, Alan Pergament noted Sunday's Patriots-Bills game, which pitted two undefeated teams against one another, drew the kind of TV rating "normally reserved for the end of a possible playoff run." The game drew a 41.3 rating on WIVB-CBS, and the final hour of the game "averaged a 44.3 rating." It was the highest-rated Bills game since a 43.1 rating for their win over the Dolphins in the '17 regular season finale that "got the Bills into the playoffs" (BUFFALO NEWS, 9/30). Meanwhile, Patriots-Bills on WBZ-CBS in Boston delivered a 34.0 rating, the highest non-primetime rating for a Patriots broadcast this season. The game marked a 9% increase over the Patriots' Week 4 win over the Dolphins last year, also broadcast on CBS in the same time slot (Patriots).

LOCAL FEELING: In Houston, David Barron notes the Texans on Sunday "finished second in the day's television ratings in their own hometown." The team's 16-10 loss to the Panthers got an 18.7 rating on KRIV-Fox, while Cowboys-Saints on "SNF" drew a 19.8 rating on KPRC-NBC. KRIV's audience "undoubtedly was affected" by Dish Network having dropped Fox stations, and the game also "aired opposite the final Astros regular-season game," which began at 2:00pm and drew a 5.0 rating (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/1). In Chicago, Phil Rosenthal noted the Bears' 16-6 victory over the Vikings on Sunday received a 30.3 rating, and their overall local ratings through four games "are up 9% year-to-year from 28.3 to 30.9." The "major mitigating factor is likely that the Cubs remained in playoff contention through the end of September last season, luring away some would-be Bears viewers," whereas the '19 ballclub "was an also-ran much earlier" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/1).

RIGHT ON TUNE: A new song from hip-hop artist Sash, "What Would A Champion Do?" has been "selected as the inaugural tune for the NFL Inspire Change Songs of the Season series." The song from the 19-year-old guitarist was "featured throughout Sunday's Week 4 games on CBS, Fox and NBC and during pregame and postgame shows." It was also included in ESPN's "MNF" coverage. Songs of the Season is a "season-long initiative that will highlight emerging artists and superstars from all genres" via the NFL's partnership with Roc Nation (NFL.com, 9/30).