The Bears MVP: Luke Skywalker?
Monday was a great day for Chicago sports fans as the Cubs and Bears played in meaningful games.
The Cubs played Game 3 of the National League Divisional Series between the Cubs and the Washington Nationals and the Bears played the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football with rookie Mitch Trubisky getting his first career start – and the hype surrounding it no doubt helped the Bears draw their highest local rating of the year.
According to Nielsen, the Bears – who last year had a Thursday night game against the Packers get outrated by a competing cubs game, had the upper hand in the local ratings as the prime-time game on ESPN and WGN drew a combined 23.3 household rating – 10.6 for ESPN and 12.7 for WGN. For the over-the-air portion, the rating for WGN is a significant improvement – up a whopping 90 percent over the 6.7 rating WCIU earned last October 31 (Halloween night) when the Bears were last featured on MNF, also at home against the Vikings. In total, the combined rating in Chicago was up a tremendous 118 percent from last October 31 (10.7) – the lowest local rating for a Bears game in 20 years.
Nationally, the Vikings-Bears game drew 10.28 million viewers and a 3.7 rating in the adult 18-49 demo.
Viewership was also helped by the introduction the new trailer for the highly anticipated new Star Wars movie The Last Jedi, shown at halftime during the game on ESPN and at Soldier Field. Star Wars of course, is produced by Lucasfilm, Ltd. – a subsidiary of Disney, who ESPN is a sister…well you get the drift.
You can tell ESPN play-by-play man Sean McDonough was less than thrilled about introducing the trailer while commentator Jon Gruden was nowhere to be found. Don’t you love corporate synergy?
Despite ranking lower than the Bears game, the Cubs earned an impressive 13.0 rating on TBS locally, despite a 3 p.m. start time and running through the early fringe/prime access time period (as we say in the trade.) Also helping the number was many people were off due to the Columbus Day holiday Monday. Keep in mind the early fringe/prime access slots have lower HUT levels than prime-time.
National ratings for the Nationals-Cubs game were not available at press time.
The results on the field were mixed: the Cubs won the game over the Nationals 2-1; the Bears lost to the Vikings 20-17 as Minnesota won on a field goal, thanks to Trubinsky’s interception in the opposing team’s red zone. While the Cubs take a 2-1 lead in the playoff series, the Bears dropped to 1-4 on the young season. Maybe they should’ve use some of those stormtroopers on the field.
As for the also-rans…that is, Monday night’s prime-time schedule using national final ratings among adults 18-49, The Big Bang Theory was the top show of the night at 2.9, but lead-out 9JKL plunged to a 1.4, losing half of its lead-in. Kevin Can Wait had a 1.2, down by half from its season premiere two weeks ago. NBC’s Voice held steady from its premiere week rating at a 2.4.
Two new shows improved from their lead-in: The Good Doctor (2.0) improved 54 percent from its Dancing With The Stars lead-in, while Fox’s The Gifted (1.2) did likewise from Lucifer up 33 percent- encouraging news for both.
Finally, The CW started off its season – at last – with the season premiere of Supergirl and the debut of the surprisingly critically-panned Valor. Unfortunately, both series placed a distant fifth for the evening – that is, if you don’t count Ion, Univision, or Telemundo.
And you’d think I would conclude this piece without posting the full Star Wars trailer? Here it is: