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Football Gives World Series a Much-Needed Boost

October 27, 2008 12:56 PM

Despite being propped up by NFL overrun, Game 4 of the 2008 World Series on Fox continued to show the difficulty of attracting viewers to small-market teams.

World Series

Drawing a 5.1 rating in the 18- to 49-year-old demographic, Sunday’s matchup between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Tampa Bay Rays matched Game 4 of the 2006 series between the small-market Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals, according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research data.

Shares were not available due to time-adjusted data.

Last night’s total of 15.5 million viewers is one of the lowest shows of viewership in the history of the World Series outside of games aired on Saturdays. Compared to last year’s Red Sox-Rockies Game 4, which closed the series with a Boston title win, Sunday’s game declined 26% in viewers and 27% in the 18-49 demo.

The game itself was the fourth-highest rated show of the night, but NFL overrun helped Fox take first place with a 5.2/13.

ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” led the night with a 5.7/13, despite tying its season low. On the bright side, “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (2.4/7) increased 20% week-to-week. “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (3.9/10) and “Brothers & Sisters” (3.5/9) held steady. ABC took second with a 3.9/10.

Without NFL overrun, CBS stayed average with “60 Minutes” (2.2/6, 12.5 million), “The Amazing Race” (2.9/7, 9.7 million), “Cold Case” (2.7/6, 12 million) and “The Unit” (2.5/6, 9.1 million).

CBS ended the night with a 2.6/7 and 10.8 million viewers.

NBC took fourth with the football post-game and “The 40 Year Old Virgin” (1.9/5), taking in a 1.6/4. The CW shuffled along with a 0.3/1 for fifth.

On Friday, NBC’s “Crusoe” washed out 25% of its premiere numbers from the previous week, drawing a 1.2/4 and losing 14% of its lead-in, “Deal or No Deal” (1.4/5). “Life” held even from last week with a 1.5/5, but is prepping for its move to Wednesday starting next week. NBC ended the night in third with a 1.4/4, tying Fox, which drew a 1.4/5.

CBS’ “The Ex List” (1.6/5) also fumbled Friday, declining 20% week-to-week to a series low. On both sides of “List,” “Ghost Whisperer” (2.5/9) and “Numb3rs” (2.2/7) were flat. CBS took first with a 2.1/7 and 8.2 million viewers.

ABC placed second with a 1.7/5, while The CW was fifth with a 0.6/2.

A huge Big Ten matchup between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Penn State’s Nittany Lions (3.2/10) boosted ABC to a win on Saturday, with an 88% week-to-week increase. The network drew a 3.2/10 for the night.

A rain delay pushed back the start of Game 3 of the World Series, where play did not begin until 10 p.m. EST; the contest posted a 2.9/9. Fox placed second with a 2.1/7. CBS followed with a 1.4/4, with NBC in fourth with a 1.3/4.

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Comments (5)

Sam Damon:

The dismal digits CBS's "The Ex-List" has been pulling suggest the network made a huge mistake in not sticking with "Moonlight", and letting the show collect its audience.

IMO, CBS's programming geniuses are going to look even worse for cancelling "Moonlight" when the movie "Twilight" hits theaters. Mind you, I only have anecdotal research to back me up. But if what I'm hearing from the tween girls I deal with is any guide, "Twilight" is going to be huge. "Moonlight" would have been able to riff off of that, but alas, it's gone.

Starting to see the extent of your programming miscue, guys?

Alan D.:

Someone needs to do their homework when making these comparisons. Philadelphia (4) and Tampa (13)are both larger than Boston (7) and Denver (18)from which you showed a ratings drop, so the argument you are making doesn't mean much.

JenL:

Since the writer obviously has no idea about market size, here's a list.

"Small" markets are generally defined as those 100 or higher.

http://www.tvjobs.com/cgi-bin/markets/market2.cgi

I pointed the market-size issue out on Thursday in the comments section. Obviously, this writer doesn't have a clue, because he knows absolutely nothing about the medium. If he did, he would most certainly know that a market with more than 2 million residents is not considered "small" by any means.

Any chance they can bring back Hibberd?

Bleh. The lead is written ham-fistedly (and/or incorrectly).

By smaller markets, I'm trying to say "teams lacking national appeal," like the White Sox, Cubs, Dodgers and Angels, all in this year's playoffs that would have come from markets larger than Tampa and Philly, and also have broader appeal than the Phillies and the Rays.

Regardless, it's confusing. Thanks for the comments.

And T-Dog, I'm excited for Hibberd's return more than anyone.

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