T Dog’s Grab Bag: NBA Finals score a slam dunk

Spurs vs. Heat– A lot has made of the Stanley Cup Final ratings between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks, but what about the NBA Finals you ask? Well, the seven-game series between the San Antonio spurs and defending champion Miami Heat drew the highest rating overall for ABC since 2010 and the third highest-rated Finals series during its tenure, dating back a decade.

The 2013 NBA Finals drew 17.7 million viewers, up from the 16.9 million 2012’s Oklahoma City Thunder-Heat series averaged. Game seven on Thursday night drew 26.3 million viewers, down slightly from the last game seven played in 2010, between the L.A. Lakers and Boston Celtics. Game seven ratings in Miami went through the roof as WPLG scored a 44.2 household rating, a record-high for the station with a 33.9 average for the series. Meanwhile, KSAT in San Antonio scored a 46.4 household rating and averaged a 40.8 rating for the series – but the number was actually down from the 2005 and 2007 Finals the Spurs were involved in.

The Miami Heat won their third title in seven years last Thursday, but the real winner was Post-Newsweek – the broadcast unit of The Washington Post Co. owns both KSAT and WPLG, which meant a huge revenue windfall for the company with their San Antonio and Miami ABC affiliates in the series.

As for the Stanley Cup ratings, we’ll have those analysis coming up in the very next post.

– St. Louis NBC affiliate KSDK announced last week it will stop producing a local newscast for Sinclair-owned ABC affiliate KDNL at the end of this calendar year, leaving the station once again without a local news show. While unrelated to Gannett’s (owner of KSDK) pending acquisition of Belo (owner of CBS affiliate KMOV), it may be related to changes within Sinclair as the company is in the running to purchase Local TV LLC, owner of Fox affiliate KTVI, who also operates Tribune Broadcasting’s KPLR. Sinclair has not produced a local newscast for KDNL since 2001 and entered in to a deal with KSDK in 2011 to produce a news show. KTVI has a news operation, but ranks last behind KSDK and KMOV.

The pending merger could leave the nation’s 21st-ranked market with just two local news operations – aside from CBS-owned KMOX-AM (which is news/talk) and the Post-Dispatch, which is the lone newspaper.  Like Chicago, St. Louis is drowning in a sea of problems with a high crime rate, is broke, and has rampant corruption in all levels of government. And like Chicago, crime and mayhem often dominate the news headlines. But with just two local stations and few other local news sources, St. Louis would be worse off (then again, Chicago has more local news sources and still hasn’t made a difference.) While Gannett pledges they’ll keep KSDK and KMOV’s operations separated for competition’s sake (KMOV is being sold to a “third-party company” run by a former Belo exec), they already look like a bunch of politicians already eager to break a promise.

– First Jerry Lewis, now WGN (and any other stations not affiliated with ABC): The annual MDA telethon – which really hasn’t been much of one in the last few years – has signed a deal with ABC to air their Show Of Strength Labor Day special on September 1. The special is only two hours long – compared to the 21 and 1/2 hour telethon hosted by Jerry Lewis in 2010. Lewis was cut from the show in 2011, as the telethon shrunk to six hours, then to three in 2012.

The move to ABC ends “The Love Network” – the ad-hoc newtwork of affiliates who carried the telethon. The deal also ends MDA’s association with Tribune’s WGN-TV, which has aired the telethon since 1979. Beforehand, Jerry Lewis’ annual telethon aired over WFLD-TV.

– Remember Boy Meets World, the hit ABC series that was part of the network’s TGIF lineup from 1993-2000? A sequel to the series has been green-lighted by the Disney Channel. Titled Girl Meets World, the show’s focus is now on Cory and Topanga’s daughter and her best friend. Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel are reprising their roles in the series. Cast members Rider Strong, Will Fredle, and William Daniels are expected to make appearances.

Girl Meets World joins other sequels in TV history lore, including Mayberry R.F.D. (a sequel to The Andy Griffith Show); Archie Bunker’s Place (All In The Family), The Ted Knight Show (Too Close For Comfort) and Aqua Teen Unit Patrol Squad 1 and Aqua Teen You Know Whatever (Aqua Teen Hunger Force, though both shows are technically not sequels.)

Two other sequels were rating disasters: The Sanford Arms (Sanford and Son) and AfterMASH.