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By David Zurawik | david.zurawik@baltsun.com and Sun TV Critic | February 14, 2010
E very so often in reporting on the media, a fact comes along that is so impressive it warrants a second look. Last week, there were three facts like that. And most remarkably, they all seemed to be pointing to the same conclusion: TV continues to be the principal storyteller in American life, despite more than a decade of pundits insisting that the medium was one step away from the boneyard. The first number that raised some eyebrows came when Nielsen announced that last Sunday's Super Bowl was the most-watched show in television history.
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SPORTS
The Baltimore Sun | October 11, 2014
Although this year's American League Championship Series represents the two smallest market sizes in history, according to TBS, the Game 1 matchup Friday averaged 5.92 million total viewers for the network. The total represented an increase of 9 percent from the National League Championship Series Game 1 telecast between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the St. Louis Cardinals on TBS last year, the network said Saturday. That game averaged 5.45 million total viewers, according to TBS. The market sizes for Kansas City and Baltimore are 70 percent smaller than the market sizes for Los Angeles and St. Louis, based on available television households, according to TBS. In 2013, the number was 6.75 million, compared to 2.015 million this year.
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ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik david.zurawik@baltsun.com | January 17, 2010
T here are more reasons to watch the Golden Globe Awards show tonight than at any time in its history. The biggest one is that for the first time the live telecast will have a host, and he's an unpredictable one who could create some genuine, unrehearsed fun: Ricky Gervais. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has also given more control to Dick Clark Productions with the mandate to create a television event worthy of prime time - rather than an awards dinner geared to a hotel ballroom in Beverly Hills filled with celebrities.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | September 12, 2014
[UPDATE] The premiere of CBS "Thursday Night Football" drew an average audience 20.8 million viewers making it the second highest rated show on TV behind only NBC's "Sunday Night Football. " The size of that audience for the Ravens 26-6 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers is a big victory for CBS on a very large gamble that viewers were ready for another weeknight of primetime football. CBS is charging advertisers the second highest ad rate on TV, $500,000 for a 30-second spot, by promising the Thursday night games will draw 20 million viewers combined with the simulcast on the NFL Network.
NEWS
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | October 23, 2012
The final presidential debate drew a TV audience of 59.2 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media. That's down from the 67.2 million and 65.6 million for the first and second debates, respectively. But it still shows huge interest -- particularly when you consider that the debate was up against a game seven in the National League Championshop series and"Monday Night Football," each of which together drew more than 18 million viewers. That old dinosaur, the medium of television, is still drawing a few viewers, hey?
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | February 2, 2012
WJZ -TV enjoyed one of its most successful ratings books ever in January winning all competitive weekday news time periods with viewers 25 to 54 years of age, the demographic on which most TV news ad sales are made. WJZ also won in total viewers in those time periods. The CBS-owned station was Baltimore's leader at 5 and 6 a.m. in the locally-produced newscasts that precede network morning shows. WJZ was also number one at noon, 5, 6 and 11 p.m. The last time that happened was in 2008, when WBAL, WJZ's long-time rival, topped all newscasts.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik | david.zurawik@baltsun.com and Baltimore Sun TV critic | November 6, 2009
The November sweeps ratings period is one of the first major milestones of the TV season. Usually, network and station executives can't talk enough about what they have to offer during the month in hopes of attracting viewers. Unless, that is, one of the things you have is "The Jay Leno Show" airing at 10 p.m. thanks to a risky move made by NBC in hopes of cutting costs this fall. If you are an NBC affiliate manager such as Jordan Wertlieb at WBAL-TV in Baltimore, you are more interested in talking about December when the other networks will mostly be in reruns.
SPORTS
The Baltimore Sun | October 11, 2014
Although this year's American League Championship Series represents the two smallest market sizes in history, according to TBS, the Game 1 matchup Friday averaged 5.92 million total viewers for the network. The total represented an increase of 9 percent from the National League Championship Series Game 1 telecast between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the St. Louis Cardinals on TBS last year, the network said Saturday. That game averaged 5.45 million total viewers, according to TBS. The market sizes for Kansas City and Baltimore are 70 percent smaller than the market sizes for Los Angeles and St. Louis, based on available television households, according to TBS. In 2013, the number was 6.75 million, compared to 2.015 million this year.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | November 7, 2012
Outside of Barack Obama, one of Tuesday's biggest winners was CNN, which not only presented the best journalism but also finished first among cable channels in viewers. According to Nielsen's Fast Ratings, CNN was seen by an average audience of 8.8 million total viewers from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. election night. It also had audiences of 4.4 million adults ages 25 to 54 and 2.7 million viewers between the ages of 18 and 34. That topped perennial ratings winner Fox News, which had an audience of 8.7 million total viewers, with 3.5 million and 1.2 million in the key demos.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | September 23, 2013
Sunday's 65th Emmy Awards telecast on CBS was watched by an average audience of 17.6 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research data supplied by the network. The telecast was up 33 percent over last year's, and did well with young viewers, according to the figures from CBS. While there was no dominant winner, HBO's "Veep," which is filmed in Baltimore, won two major comedy awards -- Julia Louis-Dreyfus as best actress and Tony Hale as best supporting actor. Netflix's "House of Cards," which is also produced in Maryland, won an Emmy for best direction in a drama.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | September 10, 2014
The biggest story of the fall TV season begins tonight in Baltimore with the debut of "Thursday Night Football" on CBS. The bold programming move - which includes the largest marketing effort in the history of the network as well as the relocation of TV's most popular sitcom, "The Big Bang Theory" - is also the biggest gamble of the year. The new night of primetime NFL competition that opens with the Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers is already the second most expensive program on television with CBS asking advertisers to pay $500,000 for 30 seconds of commercial time.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | April 30, 2014
Maryland Public Television Wednesday afternoon changed its mind and decided it would carry the May 7 Democratic gubernatorial candidates debate. The Sun reported Tuesday on this blog that Baltimore viewers were not scheduled to be able to see the debate even though it was being staged at a state-owned university. MPT's decision today means the debate among  Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and Del. Heather R. Mizeur will now be seen in Baltimore -- and in an over-the-air venue that makes it accessible to the largest possible audience.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | April 29, 2014
Even though next week's first gubernatorial debate is being co-hosted by two taxpayer-funded state universities, Baltimore viewers are not scheduled to be able to see it. The event featuring Democratic candidates Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and Del. Heather R. Mizeur is scheduled for 7 p.m. May 7 at the University of Maryland, College Park and will be broadcast live on Washington's NBC-owned station, WRC-TV (Channel...
ENTERTAINMENT
By Luke Broadwater and The Baltimore Sun | April 13, 2014
It's just not safe to get married in Westeros these days. Ever since he ordered the beheading of the heroic Ned Stark in the first season of “Game of Thrones,” viewers have been patiently waiting for the insufferable boy-king Joffrey to die. (Preferably in as painful a manner as possible.)  Sunday night, they got their wish. Episode two of Season 4,“The Lion and the Rose,” written by George R.R. Martin himself (hallowed be his name), ends with the despicable teenage tyrant's poisoned face turning blue as blood drips from his mouth.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | February 17, 2014
Since screening the Season 2 premiere of “House of Cards” almost two weeks ago, I have been dying to talk about a showstopper of a moment in it. But even though Netflix made all 13 episodes of the second season available to the public Friday, I still don't feel I can discuss what I saw without spoiling the surprise for some fans online or in social media. Spoilers have long been an issue with DVR and on-demand viewing. But the new streaming, all-episodes-at-once distribution model introduced by Netflix with the launch of “House of Cards” last year has complicated the matter exponentially.
NEWS
Thomas F. Schaller | January 14, 2014
The story of a teenage mother and her foul-mouthed two-year-old son made big national news this past week. The video of the cursing toddler quickly went viral - a fitting term, that - and soon television producers had the kind of story they crave. In today's media age, whether in the regular news or so-called reality television, the best stories are those for which viewers and listeners need almost zero information or background as a point of entry - subjects as mundane as traffic or as divisive as race and almost any story involving family, interpersonal relationships and parenting.
FEATURES
By LOS ANGELES TIMES | July 1, 2005
Three years after surpassing CNN as the top-rated cable news channel, Fox News continues to enjoy growing viewership. Fox had an average prime-time audience of 1.5 million people in the second quarter of 2005 - a 9 percent gain over the same period last year. In June, the network posted its best ratings of the year, attracting an average prime-time audience of more than 1.7 million. CNN dropped 13 percent for the quarter, pulling an average 721,000 viewers in prime time. CNN Headline News grew, expanding its average prime-time audience for the quarter to 322,000 - a 63 percent increase over the same period last year.
FEATURES
By David Zurawik | March 2, 2004
The decision to move the Academy Awards up one month so that the telecast would air in the February sweeps ratings period turned out to be a good one for ABC. Sunday night's Oscar show drew an estimated audience of 43.5 million viewers, up 31 percent from the telecast's all-time low of 33.1 million last year. Those ratings, based on preliminary overnight figures released yesterday by Nielsen Media Research, are the highest since the Oscar telecast of 2000 that was viewed by 46.3 million.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | December 9, 2013
There was lots of mail on the Fox telecast of the Ravens' epic win Sunday over the Vikings. In the interest of getting more reader reaction into this post, I'll keep my words to a minimum. I'll try anyway. I've noticed the "Z responds" part is sometimes longer than that to which I am responding. What can I say? Let's start with Kitty, who writes: Dear Z, I thoroughly enjoy your column in the Sun.  I must comment on the last 4 paragraphs of your column today (12/9/13).  I am a FiOS customer and was totally frustrated by the audio of Sunday's game.  As you described, I heard no sound, then English, Spanish, English, etc. for the entire 1st half.   I thought something was wrong with my TV.   You seem to have enjoyed Fox's coverage, but a graphic on the screen explaining the audio difficulties would have been greatly appreciated.  I listened to WBAL , which was difficult as they are a few minutes ahead of the video.  I would have loved to have heard from Hale, Myers, and Ryan on the broadcasting team, but I COULDN'T UNDERSTAND anything being said!
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik, The Baltimore Sun | December 8, 2013
In addition to watching the Ravens through a lot of real snow on their screens, some area viewers were hearing the Fox telecast Sunday in Spanish instead of English during the first half. The problem with the Fox telecast appeared to be limited to Verizon Fios subscribers watching in HD and some viewers receiving the telecast over the air. Verizon subscribers could receive the English language version by clicking out of HD. But the Verizon experience was a weird one on HD, with the game starting without any sound.
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