Monday Night Fights

(Courtesy: Chicago Tribune)

Bears-Packers, Dancing destroy competition in Chicago – and everywhere else

It was a huge face-off on Monday night.

Wait, you thought I was just talking the Bears and the Packers?

Ratings in Chicago for the game were phenomenal – the Bears beat the Packers 20-17. But Dancing with the Stars was just as phenomenal (in its own universe, of course,).

Despite facing the Bears-Packers game, the two-hour edition of Dancing on ABC-owned WLS-TV drew a 17.4 Nielsen household rating, which is very good for its time slot. But the football game did a huge 38.3 rating, with 24.2 going to ESPN and WCIU-TV contributing a 14.1 rating.

Or course, Dancing drew more women than men, while the opposite was true for the football game, and it proves there is room for two big television events at the same time (though it was only from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. local time.) 

The game was on the Weigel Broadcasting outlet in the first place because WLS did not want to delay Dancing until 1 a.m. like fellow ABC affiliates WISN-TV in Milwaukee and WBAY-TV in Green Bay did, both of which carried the game. Chicago is one of Dancing’s strongest markets, and a move to 1 a.m. here in the nation’s third-largest market would have hurt the program’s national numbers (WLS and ESPN are both owned by Disney; WISN is owned by The Hearst Corp.; WBAY is owned by Young Broadcasting but operated and managed by Gray Television due to Young’s bankruptcy proceedings.)

In Milwaukee, WISN did a 38.2 Nielsen rating, and a 55.1 for the game overall, adding in ESPN’s numbers.

And speaking of those national numbers, Dancing whipped the competition with 21.3 million viewers and a 4.8 rating among adults 18-49 (who said Dancing was a older-skewing show?), easily making it the top-rated show of the evening on broadcast.

And the Packers-Bears game didn’t do badly on ESPN either: 17.45 million viewers and 7.2 rating among adults 18-49, topping all network and cable competition in the demo for the night and now ranks as the fifth-most watched cable program of all time.