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August 2008 Archives

NFL Network Piles on Originals

August 20, 2008 2:19 PM

NFL Network is beefing up its lineup of original programming. Heading into football’s fall season, NFL Network will debut new series including “NFL Replay Real-Time,” “Starting 11,” “Live Wire,” “Team Cam” and “America’s Game: The Missing Rings.”

Football game in high-def

In addition, the channel will expand “College Football Now” to a full hour as the NCAA sport gears up for its own new year.

The moves are designed to capitalize on the growing awareness of the network as well as the ratings hike seen last season.

Here’s the rundown on the new shows, according to the network.

Thursday features a night of new programming on NFL Network. The sounds of the game that only NFL Films can capture—with exclusive on-field and sideline microphone access—will be featured on “Live Wire” at 9 p.m. (all times ET), premiering Sept. 11. Then at 9:30 p.m., it’s “Starting 11,” a fast-paced, highlights-driven look at the 11 most exciting moments from the previous weekend.

Following these newcomers Thursday at 10 p.m. is a new season of the Emmy Award-winning “America’s Game.” “America’s Game: The Missing Rings” debuts Sept. 18 and chronicles five of the greatest teams that did not win a Super Bowl.

Starting Sept. 2 is “Team Cam,” a two-hour, live whip-around show with exclusive coverage and interviews from a dedicated camera inside the headquarters or practice sites of all 32 teams. “Team Cam,” running Tuesday through Friday at 4 p.m., will feature NFL coach and player press conferences accompanied by debate among NFL Network talent, beat writers and bloggers.

Randy Moss, a veteran horse-racing analyst and host, joins NFL Network as the host of “Team Cam.” Moss was an award-winning columnist and reporter for the Dallas Morning News and other newspapers for two decades.

Monday nights at 7:30 p.m., NFL Network will give fans a unique minute-by-minute look at what happened the previous afternoon with the new one-hour “NFL Replay Real-Time.” Much like the hit show “24,” “NFL Replay Real-Time,” debuting Sept. 8 with a special 6 p.m. start time, will have a time-of-day graphic on the screen. If Brett Favre throws a touchdown pass at 1:06 p.m. and Devin Hester returns a punt for a touchdown at 1:11 p.m., fans will see those big plays and more from a different perspective, as they unfolded in real time.

NBC Feeling the Phelps Effect

August 15, 2008 2:51 PM

Michael Phelps may have single-handedly added at least a quarter of a million dollars to the value of the next round of bidding for the Olympic Games, according to analysts.

While I’m not going to jump deeper into this story for the moment, the unexpected ratings success of the Games, thanks in part to Mr. Phelps’ quest for eight gold medals, will beef up the price when bidding for the 2014 and 2016 Games begins this fall.

The dollar value of the event definitely will pass the $2 billion of the most recent contract paid by NBC, and could even surpass the earlier “high” expectations of $2.25 billion for the next round of bidding, according to my sources. More on that in a few weeks.

Mr. Phelps has two more medal races remaining in his campaign to break the all-time record for medals in a single Olympics. His quest has helped NBC’s coverage debut to huge ratings and score a massive win.

Through the first five nights of the Games, the network’s prime-time coverage has averaged a 17.8 rating/31 share and 31.3 million viewers. That bucks recent downward trends for the Games (up 16% from the comparable nights of Athens 2004) and 22% better than the first five nights of Sydney in 2000.

NBC’s prime-time coverage of the Beijing Olympics on Saturday begins at 7:30 p.m. with the final night of swimming, where Mr. Phelps could break Mark Spitz’s 36-year-old record of seven gold medals in a single Olympics by going eight-for-eight in ’08 in the 4x100 medley relay.

If the record is indeed on the line, even NBC’s competitors expect ratings for the Games to shatter recent records.

Phelps’ Relay Finish Propels Online Traffic

August 11, 2008 2:35 PM

Michael Phelps Celebrating His Team's Relay Win

Make what you will of the digital fireworks, but the riveting freestyle relay on Sunday continues
to pay off for NBC.

First, 81 million watched NBC in prime time as Michael Phelps, with his USA teammates, came from behind to take down the French and win his second gold medal of the Beijing Games. Now, word of mouth is driving phenomenal traffic online as well.

As of early Monday afternoon, NBC reports 1.1 million video streams of the historic 4x100m relay have been accessed at NBCOlympics.com, making it the most watched video ever from the site.

Here’s where they rank so far…

Top Video Streams Today on NBCOlympics.com:

1. U.S. Wins 4x100m Relay

2. Beijing and Beyond Feature

3. Phelps Wins 400m IM

4. Women's Fencing – Foil

5. U.S.-China Basketball preview

Fencing?

Anyway, Sunday’s coverage drew a total of 107 million people watching the Beijing Olympics at some point on the various NBC outlets, pacing 16 million ahead of the same first Sunday of the Athens Games. NBC has drawn 143 million total viewers though the first three days of the events.

NBC's prime-time coverage, which included Phelps collecting his second Beijing gold medal and eighth career Olympic gold medal in the relay, as well as Bob Costas’ interview with President Bush, peaked with a 21.0/32 and 38.4 million average viewers in the 9:30 p.m. half-hour.