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FCC Prepares To Eliminate Its TV Sports Blackout Rules

By | Wednesday December 18, 2013 @ 2:37pm PST

The agency followed through today on an effort launched last month by then-Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn: NFLTVIt released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that invites public comment before it eliminates the rules adopted in 1975 to help broadcasters and the NFL. They say that if a sports league requires a TV station to black out a game – usually a football game that isn’t sold out — then cable and satellite distributors can’t offer it in the community either. The sports industry has changed dramatically in the last 40 years…[and] the economic rationale underlying the sports blackout rules may no longer be valid,” the notice says. When the rules were adopted about 59% of the NFL’s regular season games were blacked out due to failure of the games to sell out. But the FCC observes that in 2011 just 6% were blacked out, and just in four cities: Buffalo, Cincinnati, San Diego, and Tampa Bay. Also, TV payments have become much more significant than gate receipts to most teams’ revenues. Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘The Voice’ Hits Performance Finale Low, ‘Almost Human’ & ‘Mom’ Down To Low, ‘Mike & Molly’ Up

ALMOST HUMAN DEC 16Just over a week before those presents under the tree are opened, Tuesday’s primetime was full of holiday specials and more year-enders but not a lot of cheer for some. Almost Human (1.6/5) wrapped up the first part of its first season as the only original on a holiday animation heavy Fox. The freshman futuristic cop show from JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions was down 11% from its December 10 show to hit a season low. Almost Human returns on January 6.

There was a lot of Christmas in the air but no noticeable androids on NBC on Tuesday as the network blasted out another full night of singing. There were also some low notes. With its penultimate episode of Season 5, The Voice (3.3/9) saw all four coaches belting out some Def Leppard with some of the British rock band on hand. The final trio of contestants also took to the stage one last time before a winner is declared on tonight’s finale. While the highest-rated show of the night, The Voice dipped 6% from last voice dec 16week. No big whoop on one level but that slight downward turn also resulted in the show’s lowest performance finale ever. Last night’s show was down 21% from last year’s Season 3 equivalent show on December 17 and down 11% from the Season 4 comparable show on June 17 … Read More »

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Want To Buy An Ad During The Super Bowl? Too Late, Says Fox

By | Wednesday December 4, 2013 @ 1:30pm PST

Fox Super Bowl Ads Sold OutRight 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 Fox Super Bowl Ads Sold Outaverage 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.

Fox’s ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ Gets Post-Super Bowl Slot
Bruno Mars Confirmed For Super Bowl XLVIII Halftime Show

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Dan Dierdorf Retiring From Broadcast Booth After NFL Season

By | Wednesday November 20, 2013 @ 3:34pm PST

The burly, mustachioed color man who followed a Hall of Fame football career with a three-decade stint in the broadcast booth is hanging up his microphone. Dan Dierdorf will retire from CBS after this season, his 43rd connected to the National Football League. After a 13-year stint as an offensive tackle for the St. Louis Cardinals, he began his announcing career with CBS Radio in 1984, moving to the TV side the following year. He left CBS in 1987 for ABC, where he did color for Monday Night Football until 1999 and also covered NCAA games, boxing and the 1988 Winter Olympics. He has been with CBS for the past 14 years. Dierdorf’s often brusque, call-it-like-he-sees-it style earned him plenty of detractors — snarky L.A. sports radio legend Jim Healy famously referred to him as “Dan Dierdork” — but in 2008 he became one of only four Pro Football Hall of Fame players to receive the Hall’s Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award for excellence in broadcasting.

Could Netflix Or Google Land NFL Games?

NFL Will Select A Team For HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’ If None Volunteers

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NFL ‘Sunday Night Football’ Snaps ‘Walking Dead’ Demo Winning Streak

By | Monday November 11, 2013 @ 11:35am PST

Last night’s episode of AMC’s zombie apocalypse series had some surprises, the return of one vital character and some very serious father/son firepower bonding. However, The Walking Dead did not have the upper hand over NFL Sunday Night Football. After wins among adults 18-49 for two weeks in a row, the cable blockbuster was beaten in the key demo last night by the New Orleans Saints 42-17 whooping of the Dallas Cowboys on NBC. The fifth week of Dead’s fourth season saw the series receive a 6.2 rating last night to SNF‘s 7.7. Although the Saints smacked the Cowboys down, with two of the NFL’s top-draw teams playing, last night’s game was up a strong 23% in fast nationals over the week before. The Walking Dead had 7.9 million viewers in the demo to SNF’s 9.9 million on Sunday. Overall the 9 PM airing of the AMC show got 12.2 million total viewers last night to SNF‘s 19.30 million for the night’s game. For The Walking Dead, that’s down from last week’s 8.7 million among the 18-49s and its 13.3 million total viewers.

Related: RATINGS RAT RACE:  NFL ‘Sunday Night Football’ Surges

With a 6.8 rating to the NBC NFL game’s 6.3, early numbers from November 3 had the telecast of the AMC show topping the 8.1 million adults 18-49 who watched the Indianapolis Colts’ 27-24 victory over the Houston Texans that night. That … Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: NFL ‘Sunday Night Football’ Surges, ‘Revenge’ & ‘Betrayal’ Tie Lows, ‘Simpsons’ & ‘Family Guy’ Down

By | Monday November 11, 2013 @ 9:06am PST

It was a good Sunday to be in New Orleans for the Saints and for NFL Sunday Night Football (7.0/17) last night. Week 10 of the season saw NOLA’s Saints take the Dallas Cowboys to the cleaners last night in a 49-17 victory and a NFL record-breaking 40 first downs. It also saw a strong 23% rise in fast nationals from last week’s Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans game. In the 8:30 PM – 11 PM block, that November 3 battle got a 5.7/14 rating, which rose to a 6.3/16 for its 8:31 PM – 11:35 PM play in the final numbers. With their 7-2 season so far and team best record of 625 total yards last night, Sunday’s lopsided success was the Saints’ 12th straight primetime win at home in the Superdome. Sunday’s game was watched by 19.30 million viewers, up from last week’s  15.34 million. With live events like last night’s NFL game on NBC, all non-time zone adjusted fast nationals will likely shift when the finals come in later this Veterans Day. In metered market results, the game drew a 13.0/21 during the 8:30 PM to 11:30 PM block. That’s up from the 11.4/19 that Week 9’s much closer 27-24 Colts-Texans game pulled in but down from the 13.5/22 that the Cowboys’ October 13 match-up against the Washington Redskins had. Last night saw New Orleans (56.2/73) as the top metered market for the game, followed by Dallas (30.3/47), San Antonio (22.6/34), Austin (21.5/35 and a tie for fifth place between Albuquerque (20.1/30) and Richmond (20.1/29). With a 5.7/15 rating, NBC won the night in terms of the adult 18-49 demo. It also took the top spot in total viewers with 15.797 million watching.

Related: ‘Walking Dead’ Slays NFL ‘Sunday Night Football’ Again In Demo
Read More »

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Ridley Scott To Direct Film About Deadly Effects Of Concussions In Football Players

By | Thursday November 7, 2013 @ 2:12pm PST
Mike Fleming

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.

Related: NFL Reaches $765M Settlement In Concussion Cases

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.

Related: Hot Web Trailer: ‘Casualties Of The Gridiron’
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‘Walking Dead’ Slays NFL ‘Sunday Night Football’ Again In Demo

By | Monday November 4, 2013 @ 12:01pm PST

That’s two in a row on top for the zombie apocalypse. For the second consecutive week AMC’s The Walking Dead has beaten NBC’s NFL Sunday Night Football in the key 18-49 demo to reign supreme in the ratings. In early numbers, the fourth week of the fourth season of the 9 PM ratings powerhouse pulled in 8.7 million viewers among the 18-49s. SNF drew in 8.1 million adults for the Indianapolis Colts 27-24 victory over the Houston Texans last night. That 8% spread is the same as early numbers had last week when The Walking Dead had 8.6 million viewers in the demo compared to 8 million who watched the Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings game on Sunday Night Football. The Walking Dead delivered a 6.8 rating last night while the NBC NFL game got a 6.3. Overall, The Walking Dead attracted 13.3 million viewers, up from last week’s 12.9 million. Preliminary numbers have the viewership for last night’s SNF at 15.34 million. Due to the nature of live events like sports, those SNF numbers could change in the finals later today. The Walking Dead shattered cable records with its Season 4 debut last month.

Ratings Rat Race: NFL ‘Sunday Night Football’ Steady
AMC Renews ‘Walking Dead; For Season 5

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RATINGS RAT RACE: NFL ‘Sunday Night Football’ Steady, ‘Simpsons’ Down, ‘Revenge’ & ‘Betrayal’ Rise

By | Monday November 4, 2013 @ 9:17am PST

There was drama both on and off the field during last night’s NFL Sunday Night Football (5.7/14) Week 9 game. Houston Texans head couch Gary Kubiak had to be taken to a hospital after collapsing during halftime. The team didn’t reveal what was wrong except later to say Kubiak didn’t have a heart attack and was in stable condition. The same could not be said for the Texans who were defeated at home 27-24 by the Indianapolis Colts in a second half rally. Week 9 saw a slight 2% rise from the fast nationals of last week’s Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings game. In terms of viewers, Sunday Night Football was far and away the most watched regularly scheduled show of the night with 15.34 million viewers. As always with live events like sports, all non-time zone adjusted fast nationals will likely shift when the finals come in later in the day. Still for NBC, as it stands, it was another easy win among adults 18-49 with a 4.6/12 rating on Sunday night. However, NBC came in second place to CBS among total viewers, as the latter pulled in 14.35 million to the former’s 12.62 million. CBS’ prime was all over the place due to regional NFL overruns that pushed its start time back to 8 PM.

Related: ‘Simpsons’ Pays Tribute To Marcia Wallace

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UPDATED: Could Netflix Or Google Land NFL Games?

By | Wednesday October 16, 2013 @ 8:15am PDT

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 came from? So are we. We have not considered this.”

PREVIOUSLY: This possibility petrifies cable and satellite execs. Who knows how many sports fans would cut the video cord if they had a Web-based alternative to satisfy their craving for live games? Yet The Wall Street Journal this morning strangely buried the possibility of a digital deal with the NFL in a story about the league’s interest in selling a new package of Thursday night games. (Officials are disappointed with the performance of the Thursday matches that air on their NFL Network.) While the league believes that a cable channel would be interested in a new package, officials “have also considered” selling to “a nontraditional media partner, including online players like Netflix Inc. or Google Inc.” according to an unnamed source. And why not? Google’s executives reportedly met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell about rights to the Sunday Ticket package when the deal with DirecTV expires at the end of 2014. Netflix also is eager to try different kinds of programming. CEO Reed Hastings noted in response to a question in an Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: NFL ‘Sunday Night Football’ & MLB Up On Big Sports Night, CBS & ABC Shows Hit Lows

By | Monday October 14, 2013 @ 9:11am PDT

Yes, The Walking Dead was back on cable but it was an even split on the Big 4 between sports and non-sports last night – and, like the Dallas Cowboys and the Red Sox, sports won. In terms on NBC’s Sunday Night Football (7.3/18), it wasn’t quite the rout of last week’s 49ers 34-3 win over the Texans, but Dallas beat the Washington Redskins a pretty convincing 31-16 Sunday thanks to Dwayne Harris and a very solid defense. Easily the No 1. show on Sunday, the game was up 28% in fast nationals over last week. The SF/Houston game rose to 7.0/19 in finals last week. Between 8:30 PM and 11 PM, last night’s game was watched by 19.65 million viewers. Last night’s Cowboys/Redskins game got a 13.5/22 in metered markets. That’s up 7% from Week 6 last year and up 21% over the comparable week in 2011. Up against Boston vs. the Detroit Tigers on Fox, last night’s Sunday Night Football was also the best MM result for a primetime NFL game against a MLB Championship game since October 13, 1997. Not unexpectedly, Dallas was the top local market for the NFL match-up on Sunday. With a 35.5/52, DC was No. 2 with a 34.1/52 with Richmond (32.7/45, Norfolk (25.4/35) and San Antonio (25.1/39) filling out the top 5. Fast affiliate ratings are not time zone adjusted, so expect Sunday’s sports numbers to change later in the day. With a 6.0/16 rating and 16.032 million watching, NBC topped the night with Fox coming in the No. 2 spot with a 3.6/9 rating and 11.36 million viewers.
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NFL Audible: League Will Select A Team For HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’ If None Volunteers

By | Wednesday October 9, 2013 @ 4:58pm PDT

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.

Related: Discovery Channel’s NFL Two-Parter To Be Produced By NFL
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CBS Loses Its Raiders-Chargers Game To NFL Network Because Of Baseball Playoffs

By | Monday September 30, 2013 @ 9:58pm PDT

File this under “cable confounds broadcast again”: CBS is losing an NFL rivalry game between the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers this Sunday because grounds crews won’t have enough time to convert the Coliseum from a diamond to a gridiron after a baseball playoff game the night before. Major League Baseball didn’t announce the start time for Saturday’s Game 2 of the American League Divisional Series, hosted by the Oakland A’s, until late Monday afternoon. Now the football game has been moved from 1:25 PM PT to 8:25 PT — and from CBS to the NFL Network. With Raiders-Chargers starting in primetime in the West, it should draw a huge number, especially in LA, an NFL-free city where both teams have large fan bases. That can’t be good news for broadcast networks so early in the new TV season or for HBO and Showtime, which have high-profile Sunday dramas Boardwalk Empire and Homeland, respectively. NBC has its regularly scheduled Sunday Night Football game, which should bleed into the start of Raiders-Chargers. NFL Network should send out sympathy cards to rival nets – right after that thank-you note to MLB.

Related: NFL Forcing Orlando TV Viewers To Watch Woeful Jaguars

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CBS Pre-Empting ‘60 Minutes’ For NFL And Primetime Emmy Awards

By | Thursday September 19, 2013 @ 11:21am PDT

CBS announced this morning it will pre-empt 60 Minutes this Sunday for NFL football and the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards. Scrubbing this Sunday’s newsmag edition gives CBS its best hope for starting the Emmy broadcast on time, despite the later start time — 4:25 PM — for the NFL’s double-header games. On the bright side, going straight from football to the Emmycast will give the trophy show about a 20 million viewer lead-in — which the Emmys could use, since it will not only compete for viewers with NBC’s Sunday football but also the penultimate episode of AMC’s Breaking Bad as well as Showtime’s Dexter series swan-song. 60 Minutes pre-emptions are fairly rare: Sundays in which CBS has broadcast rights to the Super Bowl, AFC championship nights, etc.

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Discovery Channel’s NFL Two-Parter To Be Produced By NFL

By | Thursday September 19, 2013 @ 10:25am PDT

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: Read More »

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NFL Forcing Orlando TV Viewers To Watch Losing Jaguars – And Only Jaguars

By | Monday September 16, 2013 @ 9:29pm PDT

NFL ratings are soaring again this young season, exemplified by Sunday’s matchup of quarterback brothers Peyton and Eli Manning. And the stellar numbers for that game would have been ever better if not for the mandatory regional TV coverage of the Oakland Raiders-Jacksonville Jaguars yawner in some local markets. See, the NFL designated Orlando as a “secondary market” when the Jaguars joined the NFL in 1995. Because TV signals for Orlando affiliates reach within 75 miles of the Jags’ stadium 140 miles away, by rule stations must carry all of the team’s road games. That means no cutting away during blowouts to show a more competitive out-of-town contest. So while most of the U.S. was enjoying the Manning brothers’ showdown last Sunday, Orlando CBS affiliate WKMG was torturing viewers with a plodding 19-9 Jaguars’ loss to the Oakland Raiders. And next Sunday, when most of the country will enjoy the marquee matchup of hotshot young QBs Andrew Luck and Colin Kaepernick, the Jaguars will lose to the unbeaten Seattle Seahawks.

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Sunday Night Football’ Down But NBC Wins Night, ‘Miss America’ Up Strong For ABC

By | Monday September 16, 2013 @ 9:13am PDT

With 3:13 left in the first quarter last night, a Pacific Northwest storm temporarily drowned out NBC’s Sunday Night Football (7.4/19) contest between the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers. Just over an hour later, first-quarter play resumed (at 7:04 PM PT) after the downpour ended. The hometown team certainly didn’t suffer for the delay, though with Seahawks routing their NFC rivals 29-3. However, in the first numbers, Week 2 of the NFL on NBC did not do so well: Between 8:30-11 PM ET, Sunday’s game tumbled 19% from the 9.1/23 fast nationals of Week 1’s New Giants-Dallas Cowboys game, which later went up to a 10.0/27 in the final numbers. Last night’s game drew 18.24 million viewers, down from last week’s 23.25 million in the early numbers. Fast affiliate ratings are not time zone-adjusted, so expect Sunday’s numbers to change later today.

Related: CBS Scores With 15-Year NFL Ratings High For Manning Brothers’ Faceoff

In time zone-adjusted metered-market results, last night’s game on NBC drew a 13.6/24 between 8:30-9 PM ET and 10 PM-12:15 AM ET. Among the takeaway stats, the Seehawks-49ers matchup was the best overnight result for any West Coast NFC primetime game since November 25, 1991, when the 49ers played the then-LA Rams. That faceoff scored a 15.4/24. Overall, NBC easily won the night with a 6.3/17 rating and 15.949 million viewers. CBS was No. 2 with a 2.9/8 rating and 10.277 million viewers. Read More »

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CBS Scores With 15-Year NFL Ratings High For Manning Brothers’ Faceoff

By | Monday September 16, 2013 @ 8:24am PDT

Manning Bowl TV Ratings CBSIt was the Manning Bowl III on Sunday, and CBS got the touchdown. As brother Peyton and his Denver Broncos beat younger brother Eli and his New York Giants 41-23, the network scored its best NFL On CBS ratings results for its first nationally televised game of the season since it re-acquired football rights in 1998. With Jacksonville-Oakland on too, the Week 2 doubleheader drew a 17.8/24 overnight rating and share in metered markets. That’s up a strong 24% from the 14.4/28 of last year’s Week 2 NY Jets-Pittsburgh and Tennessee-San Diego games. It is also the day’s best NFL rating — including NBC’s primetime Sunday Night Football. The previous NFL On CBS high was September 19, 2010, when the New England-NY Jets game drew a 16.7/32. By the way, this is the third time in a row that Peyton has beat Eli in a regular-season game. Maybe the next Manning Bowl will come in this year’s Super Bowl?

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RATINGS RAT RACE: NBC Wins Night As NFL ‘Sunday Night Football’ Slips From 2012

By | Monday September 9, 2013 @ 8:57am PDT

The Texan boys were truly back in town last night on the NFL on NBC. The network’s debut Sunday Night Football (9.1/23) of the regular season saw the Dallas Cowboys best the New York Giants 36-31. With Dallas forcing turnovers to clinch the victory over Eli Manning and NY at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas and 23.25 million watching between 8:30 PM – 11 PM, the match-up dipped 7% from the fast nationals last season’s first Sunday regular game between the Denver Broncos and the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 9, 2012. It was also down from the final nationals rating of 11.0/28 that last year’s game garnered. That 2012 result is the all-time record for Sunday Night Football. Last September’s first Sunday regular season game pulled in 27.567 million viewers overall, the third best result SNF has ever had. The top SNF viewership is 30.281 million that the December 30, 2012 Dallas Cowboys-Washington Redskins received with the January 1, 2012 Cowboys-Giant battled coming second with 27.624 million watching. Last year, the Cowboys and the Giants were the September 5 opening game of the regular season facing off against Bill Clinton and the Democratic National Convention. In metered-market results, Sunday’s game got a 16.6/27 for the 8:30 PM – 11:45 PM game. That’s down from the record breaking 18.0/29 that last year’s Sunday opener pulled in in the time adjusted results. Running prior … Read More »

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