NBC manages to survive Series, with Game 7 a pleasant surprise

Media Watch

October 28, 1997|By Milton Kent

Well, the World Series is over and no substantial damage has RTC been done to the American form of government or, more importantly, to NBC executives.

Sunday's Game 7 between Florida and Cleveland did a 26.0 rating in the Nielsen overnight survey with a 39 share of the audience, the highest rating for a baseball game since Game 7 of the 1991 Series did a 32.2 on CBS.

The pessimists will accurately note that Sunday's number was the lowest for a seventh game since the 1968 clincher between Detroit and St. Louis did a 21.2 for a game played in the afternoon, but the 26.0 rating is a strong number, which will be exceeded only by the Super Bowl among sporting events.

And though the pessimists also will note that this Series likely will be the lowest- or next-to-lowest-rated Fall Classic in the 38 years that ratings have been kept, let no one forget that television ratings for all sports, except for the NBA, are down, and that no NBA Finals game has come within five ratings points of what Sunday's game earned, even in the Michael Jordan era.

While we're on the ratings front, it's worth noting that Channel 11's broadcast of Sunday's Ravens-Redskins game had the highest football rating of the year, and the second-highest for a Ravens telecast in two years, exceeded only by last year's second Steelers contest, which did a 20.0/37.

Big announcement

CBS giddily announced yesterday that it has extended its contract with the Big Ten conference for basketball through 2006.

In addition to up to 26 appearances by Big Ten men's and women's teams, the network also will get its paws on the newly created men's basketball tournament, with the semifinals and championship game to air on CBS.

Truth squad

Minnesota Vikings coach Dennis Green and his new book, "No Room for Crybabies," was the hottest topic of conversation among the NFL pre-game crew.

Fox, ESPN and NBC reported that Green, who indicates in the book that he may sue Vikings owners if they don't sell him a portion of the club, is in trouble. NBC's Will McDonough reported that the Vikings board will meet this week and vote whether Green should be fired.

Big deal.

Bristol connection

Now, a few items of note, tied together only by their connection to ESPN:

First, "NBA2Night, ESPN2's nightly look at all things NBA, kicks off its third season tonight at midnight with a preview show devoted to a look at the Chicago Bulls.

Tomorrow night, the show will be host to a coaches' round table with Bernie Bickerstaff (Washington), Lenny Wilkens (Atlanta), Del Harris (Los Angeles Lakers) and George Karl (Seattle), with Thursday's program featuring a fantasy-league draft conducted by three NBA players.

Next, the all-sports channel has announced its plan to commemorate the end of the century through a project called "SportsCentury."

The 60-hour project will begin next September and will run through 1999. It will include "Millenium Moments," a daily look at the greatest sports moments on a particular calendar date.

ESPN also will produce shows examining the top 50 athletes of the 20th century, as well as six, two-hour "SportsCenter" specials reviewing the great sporting events by decades, with coverage in the fashion that "SportsCenter" might have used had it been around then.

Pub Date: 10/28/97

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