Bears get sacked by Pack and ratings take hit


Also: Walking Dead, Simpsons, Real Housewives are night’s ratings winners

This is likely the last Bears TV ratings report you will see this season (hold your applause) because reporting on them – and writing about the team itself – is no longer interesting. But given the way the Bears have been playing, the butt-whopping the Green Bay Packers put on The Lakefront’s NFL Team was expected.

At 3-6 and fan disgust at a 16-year high (remember the equally disastrous 1998 season?), the Bears are likely done for the season, thus squandering any future ratings growth.

The Lakefront’s NFL Team performance was the worst programming to air on NBC since Pink Lady and Jeff, Emeril, and Joe Namath’s The Waverly Wonders. Hell, even  Namath’s inept basketball team from this short-lived 1978 embarrassment would’ve beaten the Bears on Sunday night.

Several websites were reporting different numbers on how the Bears did locally – most likely due to various times the game was measured. Some sites had a 25.0 household rating; others (including an NBC press release) had it at a 26.3. Either way, the results fell way short of expectations as viewers fled for the exits as the Packers racked up score after score after score. The game peaked at a 31.5 rating at kickoff, but dropped to a 17.2 at the end of the game.

Still, the Bears-Packers game was the highest-rated program in Chicago for the week – even if just the final half-hour of the game was counted. While one website noted the reason ratings were still high toward the end of the game was due to some Bears fans were “gluttons for punishment”, keep in mind the Chicago area is filled with a lot of Packers fans (particularly in the northern suburbs) as well as other sports teams.

On a national level however, the game wasn’t as dominant. In fact, it was defeated by AMC’s The Walking Dead in the 18-49 demo, which drew a 7 rating in the adult 18-49 demo, compared to a 6.5 rating for Bears-Packers. Also, Fox’s second game in its doubleheader window drew more viewers (22 million) and scored a higher demo rating (7.4) than NBC’s prime-time game.

As for the fallout, Chicago’s sports-talk radio stations are sure to benefit from angry fans calling in and listening. In the manufactured drama department, one newspaper columnist even called for a boycott of the team, which made the front page Tuesday of the paper he works for. Calling for a boycott is silly, given Chicagoans are actually equipped to make decisions on their own, not to mention there are other issues more important to our city than a stupid football team.

This is the Chicago Bears, not Montgomery, Ala. bus service in the 1950’s. Give me a break.

In other ratings news for Sunday night, an umderwhelming Simpsons-Futurama crossover on Fox was the broadcast nets’ most-watched non-sports program among adults 18-49, with a 2.9, while an original Family Guy earned a 1.8, perhaps the lowest non-repeat number for the show in more than a decade.

Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Atlanta had its season debut on Sunday, and set a record in total viewers (3.9 million), and scored a 1.8 adult 18-49 rating, tying Family Guy and beating ABC’s Resurrection and Revenge, and CBS’ entire prime-time lineup in the demo. Interesting to note very few industry trades and mainstream entertainment websites didn’t even bother to mention RHOA’s ratings success.