Survey says: Title games big winners for Fox, NBC

ON THE AIR

January 18, 1995|By MILTON KENT

Hey, kids, do you like that football on television?

Apparently, a lot of you did last weekend, since the conference championships did boffo numbers nationally for Fox and NBC and locally for Channels 45 and 11, the respective network carriers.

In a Nielsen survey of 32 markets around the country that measure ratings, Sunday's NFC championship game between Dallas and San Francisco produced a whopping 34.2 rating and 57 share of the available audience for Fox, and the AFC title contest between Pittsburgh and San Diego did a 27.9/56 for NBC.

Each rating point nationally represents about 954,000 homes, meaning more than 32.6 million homes across the country tuned into the NFC game, and about 26.6 million homes took in the AFC clash.

The folks at Fox certainly should be leaping for joy, since the spillover from the 49ers' win landed in fourth place in the overall weekly Nielsens, making it the highest-rated Fox prime-time program ever.

In addition, and maybe more symbolically important, the Fox ratings were higher than 31.6/54 posted by CBS a year ago, when the same two teams met. NBC's numbers were down slightly from the 28.6/58 for the Kansas City-Buffalo game in 1994.

Locally, just to prove we Baltimoreans dance to the sounds of a different hustle, the Pittsburgh-San Diego game on Channel 11 (25.2/44) outdrew the Dallas-San Francisco game (24.0/37) on Channel 45, according to Channel 11's Sharon Walz, this week's official "On the Air" ratings supplier.

In other local ratings developments, the Maryland-Wake Forest game on Channel 54 on Saturday was the big college basketball winner, garnering a 7.5/19, beating network offerings on Channel 13 (Villanova-Florida, which got a 2.7/6) and Channel 2 (Virginia-Duke, 5.3/11).

Tuning in the Caps

The Washington Capitals and Home Team Sports have tentatively agreed on an 18-game schedule of televised games that commences with a Jan. 27 contest with the New York Islanders, the team's home opener, Capitals spokesman Ed Quinlan said yesterday.

The Caps' first road-game broadcast on Washington's WDCA-Channel 20 will air next Wednesday at Montreal at 7:30 p.m.

All of the particulars of the schedule for Channel 20 and HTS have not been worked out, but a full slate should be announced by the end of this week, said Quinlan, toward a goal of getting 24 of the team's 48 games on television.

Kenny Albert and Craig Laughlin will return as HTS broadcasters. Joe Beninati, who formerly called games for American Hockey League teams in Providence, R.I., and Portland, Maine, will be the Caps' new play-by-play voice on Channel 20, to be joined by Shawn Simpson.

Eye on skating ratings

CBS is crowing about the numbers for its "Eye on Sports" ice skating series, which took some of the edge off the departure of football.

The network announced yesterday that for the 11 weeks the series aired, it averaged a 3.4 rating and 8 share, reaching about 3.2 million homes. In addition, CBS estimates, thanks to preliminary Nielsen data, that more than 53 million people watched all or part of the shows.

As expected, the "Eye" series had its greatest appeal among women, as it drew a 2.7 rating among women over 18, making it the highest-rated regularly scheduled weekend sporting event among women in that demographic.

All of this comes as news to Baltimoreans, of course, since Channel 11, CBS' former home, usually opted for alternative programming in those Sunday slots.

Spreading good cheer, NFL style

Here's proof that the NFL can be just as condescending to television viewers in other locales besides Baltimore, where the Redskins are served up like so much castor oil.

It seems the league has told WESH, the NBC affiliate in Orlando, Fla., which has been carrying Miami Dolphins games, that, starting next season, they must not only show sold-out home games of the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars, but their road games as well, since Orlando is considered to be in the same market as Jacksonville.

Boy, that Paul Tagliabue sure is a people person, eh?

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