The Grab Bag: St. Louis Cardinals win on the field, on TV, in life.

1-St.-Louis-Cardinals-wallpaperDon’t discount Cardinal Nation: The St. Louis Cardinals finished the just-concluded 2014 season with the highest-rated regular season average in Major League Baseball: according to Nielsen,  the team drew a 7.76 average on FS Midwest. Despite the playoff-bound team’s success, this year’s rating is down 12 percent from a year ago. Finishing behind the Cardinals are the Detroit Tigers,  Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals, and the Cleveland Indians. With the exception of the Indians (of course), all of them made the playoffs.

On the other side of the ledger, both the underperforming Cubs and White Sox languished at the bottom as usual. Out of 27 U.S. teams (excluding the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers, who’ve had cable carriage disputes), the Cubs finished 25th with a 1.5 household rating, and the White Sox finished dead last with a 1.2, which is up 4 percent from 2013, but still disappointing nevertheless. This comes as the 2013-14 Chicago Blackhawks outdrew the White Sox at the gate for the first time.

The White Sox franchise is in need of a dire overhaul.

Is Dionne Miller headed to WLS-TV? Reports are circulating that Miller, late of WFLD-TV, is being considered to fill the now-vacant fourth sports reporter position once held by Rafer Weigel, who is leaving the ABC-owned station after this weekend to become an anchor at Tribune-owned Fox affiliate KTVI in St. Louis. Nothing has been confirmed as of yet.

– TNT has pulled the plug on the revival of Dallas after three seasons on Friday. The remake of the 1978-91 series, which featured the return of Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray, and Larry Hagman, premiered to seven million viewers on June 13, 2012. The revival featured guest appearances from Dallas sports icons, such as Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.

Viewership steadily declined throughout its run and despite gimmicks on the show (recycling the Southfork fire cliffhanger from 1983) and off (a “Ewing Oil” gas station promotion in New York City the day of its third-season premiere), it wasn’t enough to boost ratings, which sank to 1.72 million viewers for its season finale on September 22, opposite heavy competition during the first night of the TV season. Also, the series skewed toward older audiences, and didn’t receive the same buzz other hong-long series on cable had.

The death of one of the series’ icons (Larry Hagman, who played villain J.R. Ewing) in November 2012 also didn’t help matters.

The Jimmy DeCastro patronage system at work: Real Housewives of Atlanta cast member Porsha Williams has been “demoted” from the show from a full-time to a part-time cast member – meaning she won’t be in every show. The move comes as the show has added two more cast members – former Deal or No Deal and Price is Right model Claudia Jordan and former House Of Payne star Demetria McKinney, according to Rodney Ho at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

As you recall, Williams was involved in a fight last year with Kenya Moore at the RHOA reunion, which made industry headlines, but it’s unlikely the fight led to her “demotion”.

In an odd circumstance, Williams and Jordan are both associated with the Atlanta-based The Rickey Smiley Show – after Ebonie Smith was dropped from the show last spring, her duties were divided between both ladies – Jordan doing the radio portion of the show with Williams taping the Dish Nation segments, which is not heard on the national radio show. The transition seems to have worked since Dish’s ratings have grown and the Twentieth Television strip knocked NBC Universal’s Access: Hollywood out of access in Atlanta, where it aired at 7 p.m. on Fox’s WAGA-TV.

A source told Ho both Jordan and Williams do not interact with each other.

The new season of Real Housewives Of Atlanta begins on November 9.

– Yours truly fell behind on the nightly recaps because of exhaustion, but here are the final numbers for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Quick observations:

* Marvel’s Agents Of Shield needs to pick up the pace – a huge drop in its second week in its second season isn’t good, even with a DVR lift.

* Despite all the critical hate, CBS’ Stalker still debuted first in its Wednesday night time slot.

* John Rocker is making Survivor fun to watch.

* The Goldbergs to Wednesday is the smartest move in television history (OK, maybe not – but still good.)

* Fox reducing Utopia to one night a week (Friday) is a good idea. Reducing it to zero nights a week would be even better.