Right up there with death and taxes on the inevitability scale is an enormous TV rating for the NFL‘s annual championship game. Advertisers, of course, are hip to that — and Fox announced today that its ad inventory for Super Bowl XLVIII on February 2 is completely sold out, nearly two months before the Big Game. Sponsors are shelling out an average of $4M for a 30-second chunk of the prime airtime during the game — one of the few remaining events most TV viewers watch (gasp!) live. Some late spots scooped $4.5M. By contrast, CBS didn’t announce an ad sellout for its 2013 Super Bowl until January 10, when 30 seconds was averaging $3.7M-$3.8M. Fox Sports Media Group EVP Sales Neal Mulcahy wouldn’t divulge exactly who bought which spots for the game, but he noted that there’s still some ad time available during the postgame and endless pregame programming.
EXCLUSIVE: While Ridley Scott is taking on the massive Moses movie Exodus with Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton, he and producing partner Giannina Facio have been meeting with A-list writers for what he hopes will be the next film he directs. Scott wants to create a drama focusing on the debilitating effects that concussions are having on our sports heroes, and the role that league owners play in allowing it to happen. His plan is to create a morality tale on that issue, much the way that Michael Mann’s The Insider took on the tobacco industry’s complicity in covering up the addictive and cancer-causing effects of cigarette smoking.
It sounds like a most worthy project to me. Scott is a big fan of sports including rugby and football, but he is going to focus on pro football. He has been moved reading all that has been written on athletes including former NFL stars Junior Seau and Dave Duerson, both of whom committed suicide after suffering chronic traumatic encephalopathy, with each making sure to leave his brain intact so it could be studied in the hope the results would help their gridiron brethren who also are suffering.
UPDATED, 4:01 PM: The NFL responded to the WSJ report today by saying there are no plans to add more games on Thursday nights, let alone discussions about who might air them. Brian McCarthy, the league’s VP Communications, tweeted today: “Wondering where the idea of Thursday night doubleheaders …
The NFL has quietly passed a rule during its fall meeting that will force one franchise per year to be filmed for HBO’s Hard Knocks. The news came the same day that the league was fending off some negative PR over PBS’ premiere of the football concussion docu League Of Denial and President Obama weighing in on the Washington Redskins nickname flap. The popular series, which follows a team through preseason, had a tough time finding a subject this year. Five teams declined to participate before the Cincinnati Bengals — a good-not-great small-market franchise with a negligible national following — agreed to do it for a second time. The NFL and HBO signed a multiyear extension for the program in July, so something had to be done. Under the new rules, teams can volunteer to be on the program, but now the league will select one if there are no takers. Teams that have a new head coach, have been in the playoffs at least once in the past two seasons, or have done one Hard Knocks in the past 10 years are exempt from appearing on the show.
Discovery Channel announced this morning it will air a two-part special, NFL In Season, in which the network goes on the road with the NFL as the Pittsburgh Steelers, Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco 49ers and Jacksonville Jaguars prepare for two “critical regular season games” — in London. It will be produced by NFL Films. The two-part special will premiere Friday, October 4, and Friday, November 1. In this way the special will book-end PBS’ Frontline special about head injuries sustained by NFL players, League Of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis, which is now scheduled to debut on PBS on October 8. The Frontline project was originally scheduled to debut as a two-parter October 8 and October 15, but that was before ESPN pulled out of that documentary, calling it a “branding” issue. Anonymous sources in August told the New York Times that ESPN, which reportedly pays the NFL upwards of $1 billion a year for Monday Night Football rights, succumbed to pressure from the NFL, which the NFL denied. This morning’s announcement:
Did you miss some of Deadline’s top TV stories of the week? Check them out here:
CW In Talks For ‘Wizard Of Oz’ Drama By ‘Heroes” Creator Tim Kring
By Nellie Andreeva - EXCLUSIVE: The summer of Wizard Of Oz continues with another sale of a high-profile Oz-themed drama project.
Ryan Seacrest Booed By Broncos Fans During NBC’s NFL Pregame Show: Video
By Lisa De Moraes - NBC continues its Overexposing Ryan Seacrest campaign — this time the network had The Man Who Can’t Say No open NBC’s regular-season NFL football franchise kickoff last night, in which he got loudly booed by Broncos fans in Denver’s Sports Authority Stadium.
Were Consumers The Biggest Losers In The CBS-Time Warner Cable Dispute?
By David Lieberman - It sure looks that way. Millions of Time Warner Cable customers lost CBS-owned stations and channels for a month, and will still probably see their monthly rates rise to accommodate the deal that the companies made last night.
Fired ‘Storage Wars’ Star Scores A Win Over A&E In Lawsuit
By Dominic Patten – Dave Hester can move forward with the wrongful termination portion of his wide-ranging lawsuit against A&E and the producers of Storage Wars, a judge ruled today.