T Dog’s Grab Bag: Sunday belonged to Cutler, “Walking Dead”

Bears-falcons game. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Bears-falcons game. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

– Also: other Sunday, weekend rating results

– The Game to stick around, while another The Game ends

– Goodbye, Everybody Loves Mancow

Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears’ winning performance Sunday also translated to a ratings victory – the game against the Atlanta Falcons drew a 31.5 Nielsen household rating according to Lewis Lazare at Chicago Business Journal – up 11 percent from last week’s game against the Carolina Panthers.

The ratings increase was no doubt helped by the contest’s move to a 3:25 p.m. (CT) start time, where HUT levels are higher and more people are home watching television. The Bears-Panthers game had a noon start the previous Sunday.

Fox regional coverage in the late window (including Washington-Arizona and Dallas -Seattle) scored the highest ratings for an NFL afternoon game since 1996, drawing 30 million viewers. 

In other Sunday ratings news:

* AMC’s The Walking Dead set a cable ratings record Sunday night, with the season premiere earning a 8.8 rating among adults 18-49 and 17.3 million viewers. Dead has outdrawn every non-sports program on television so far this season by far in the 18-49 demo. The closest? The Big Bang Theory’s 4.7.

* The Simpsons were up 62 percent from the previous week, when they didn’t have an NFL lead-in. Much like Cutler, Homer Simpson’s performance can be described in one word: inconsistent.

* After debuting to rock-bottom ratings on Oct. 3, Fox’s new Mulaney sitcom actually went up 10 percent week-to-week. I’m disappointed in you America…

– BET has decided to end the run of The Game, a sitcom about football players in San Diego after the upcoming eighth and ninth seasons. After the series moved from CW to BET in 2011, ratings went through the roof, with the program’s first few episodes averaging 7 million viewers per airing. The momentum did not last after several key cast members departed and the show’s format changed from a multi-cam to a single cam show (perhaps this is one of the reasons why The Game was never offered in broadcast syndication.) Despite this, the series still managed to draw an average of three million viewers per episode, pretty good by cable standards.

BET did not set an end date for The Game, and its not known if any of the departed cast members would return in the finale. BET also canceled another sitcom (Let’s Stay Together) last week.

– While one “Game” is over, another “Game” is living on… for now. Tribune/Venture Technologies’ all-sports talker WGWG-LP (87.7 FM) recently and other stations on the frequency received a stay of execution as the FCC announced last week it was indefinitely postponing a deadline that would have forced analog LPTV channel 6 – which shares a frequency with 87.7 – to convert to digital in September 2015, forcing several radio stations off the air, including WGWG. The move comes as the FCC is placing more emphasis on its upcoming spectrum auction. A proposal is floating around to keep the analog audio portion of the signal after the channel 6 portion converts to digital.

In the last PPM period, The Game placed a distant third behind established sports talkers WSCR-AM and WMVP-AM. In hopes to draw more listeners to the station, Tribune has moved the bulk of Chicago Blackhawks games this season from sister station WGN-AM.

Other stations broadcasting on the 87.7 frequency include Spanish-language stations in Cleveland and Washington D.C., a sports station in Memphis; and a country station in Lafayette, La.

 The cancellation of Mancow’s TV show last week also brings Everybody Loves Mancow to an end. It was a real-life sitcom where the anointed one often bumbles and stumbles, making a pathetic attempt to convince people he’s still relevant in Chicago media, providing laughs (or not) along the way. Mancow said he was “taking a break” after WPWR dropped his TV show after recently scoring a landmark zero rating and share. With no TV or radio gig in the works, let’s hope this “break” is permanent.

So for the final time, yours truly will display this wonderful (mock) photo featuring Mancow and his “family”. Nice to know he’ll spend more time babysitting Brad Garrett.

Here's that photo again.
Here’s that photo again.