While the NFL continues to deal with off the field issues and unwanted media attention, the fans continue to watch the telecasts. The curiousity over how the Baltimore Ravens are and will respond remains high, as each of the team's three telecasts have averaged around 60% of Baltimore market households tuned to the telecasts. The network will air each of the Ravens' next three telecasts as well.
CBS' early game ratings from Sunday (9/21) were up 11% over week three from last year, leading in to the Denver at Seattle Super Bowl rematch in its doubleheader game which scored high ratings. What makes this curious is that the Fox regional telecasts actually came in about 8% lower than Week 3 did for them last year, while the Sunday Night Football NBC telecast of Pittsburgh vs. Carolina was down more than 8% from last year's Week 3, which also coincidentally featured the Steelers.
On the MLB side, ESPN came through with its added telecasts this week of "Post-season Impact Games", adding the Tuesday (9/23) and Wednesday (9/24) Giants vs. Dodgers telecasts with its Sunday Night Baseball crew handling it. The ability for ESPN to add late September games is part of the new contract which took effect this year. The network also added the Yankees vs. Orioles game on Tuesday, although this one was more of an excuse to get another Derek Jeter telecast on than a game with any true post-season impact.
Dodgers fans are already enjoying being able to watch their team on TV the rest of the way. The arrangement allowing KDOC-TV 56 to carry the Time Warner telecasts of the final six games this week (with Vin Scully on the call) got off to a strong start on Monday night (9/22). Even with an increase on the ratings only on TWC, the KDOC simulcast went to around three times the total audience share as TWC's version.
Also this week, L.A.'s KFWB 980, which has been all-sports as of this month, is now branded as "The Beast" and has added some weekday local programming. The morning show is co-hosted by Marques Johnson and Jeanne Zelasko (formerly of Fox Sports), while long time local sportcaster Fred Roggin handles Noon to 3 PM. George Wrighster and Brett Winterble co-host 3 to 7 PM while "L.A. Sports Today" airs from 7 to 9 PM.
PITTSBURGH: It certainly appears that interest in the Penguins is running high for the coming season. The team drew a respectable 2.2 rating on Monday (9/22) night during part of its pre-season opening telecast, which aired in prime time against Monday Night Football and with the Pirates still in the running for the MLB post-season.
CHICAGO: It is now news that there is no news about Cubs TV for next season. The predicted announcement that Fox owned WFLD-TV and WPWR-TV would be taking on the over-the-air package starting next season hasn't happened yet. WGN-TV supposedly does not wish to continue beyond this season. CSN Chicago would certainly take on the additional telecasts if nothing materializes, but not having anything in place by now is quite curious.
PHOENIX: The Coyotes are still in town as the NHL season is about to start, and the team will actually have three radio stations airing the games this season with the start of a new 3-year deal. KTAR 620, 98.7, and 92.3 will all air the games, with 98.7 also airing a weekly coaches show. Bob Heethuis returns for his 10th season of play-by-play, now with Nick Boynton (former Coyotes defenseman) on color.
HOUSTON: Barry Warner, who earlier "retired" from KILT 610 and is a former Rockets TV analyst, is making what could be called a 'brief' return. The "Barry Warner Classic Minute" will hit the local airwaves, but only on low rated KFNC 97.5 The Ticket and KGOW 1560.