The Media Notepad: Bears lose to Packers (again) on Sunday Night Football, but is a ratings smash

Also: Jennifer Hudson, Sherri Sheppard start off well; Clippers return to broadcast TV in L.A.

We won’t go into this as much as we did in previous years when the Bears and Packers play in primetime as what has been said about thishas already been said. The Chicago team’s 27-10 loss to Green Bay drew 20.8 million viewers across NBC, digital, and Peacock, up from the 19.4 million viewers all three earned last December when the Bears were blown out in Green Bay and up from November 2020’s matchup between these same two teams at Lambeau. The linear TV total for the game was 19.55 million viewers. 

The long, storied rivalry is certainly what attracts viewers – this is the 17th straight year a Bears-Packers contest is in primetime, with most slotted on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

Among top linear TV ratings in overnight markets, Milwaukee’s WTMJ was tops with a 40.7 household rating and 73 household share while NBC 5 in Chicago had a 24.7/52 (Green Bay-Appleton is not a metered market.) One notable market in the top ten was St. Louis, where KSDK had an 11.5/26. St. Louis was once home to the football Cardinals (1960-87) and the Rams (1995-2015.) Of course, across from St. Louis is Southwest Illinois, known as MetroEast where a lot of Bears fans (supposedly) are.

A lot of pundits aren’t expecting much from the rebuilding Bears this year, so the NFL scheduled this year’s rivalry game at Lambeau early in the season as NBC and the league wanted a game in a prime slot.

Whenever a Bears-Packers game is scheduled in prime-time, the one in the late afternoon window usually does better. This time, it was the Bengals-Cowboys contest on CBS, going out to much of the country with 28.7 million viewers. The Bengals are the defending AFC Champions, but so far this season, aren’t playing like it. 

On the NFL Network’s Good Morning Football show, Kyle Brandt said what many of us have said for the last few years:

But as long as viewers watch, the annual primetime tradition of the Bears getting slaughtered every year at Lambeau Field isn’t going anywhere.

In a surprising move, Los Angeles’ KTLA announced Tuesday it has acquired the rights to air fifteen games of the city’s pro basketball team…the Clippers (what, you thought it was the other team?)

The Nexstar-owned CW affiliate is not only airing the games, but producing them as well – including pre and post-game shows. Usually, games airing on local broadcast stations are produced by regional sports networks, who are the rightsholders. When sister station WGN-TV Chicago held the rights to Chicago sports teams, they produced the games themselves.

Four exhibition and eleven regular-season games are in the package. KTLA is also syndicating games to other Nexstar stations in California, including KSWB San Diego, KGET Bakersfield, and KSEE Fresno. It is not known where other non-nationally televised games would wind up as the team’s contract with Sinclair-owned regional sports network Bally SoCal expired at the end of last season. Negotiations are continuing, but complicating things is the long-term aspects of Bally Sports in general, which isn’t looking so great

“A critical way fans engage with the Clippers is by watching games on TV, and there is no better broadcast partner than KTLA,” said Clippers President of Business Operations Gillian Zucker. “The segmentation of the television market has become difficult for consumers. We believe it’s incredibly important for Clippers basketball to be accessible to as many people as possible, and the return of the NBA to KTLA is a critical step.”

Moving to Los Angeles from San Diego in 1984, Clippers games aired on KTLA from 1985 to 1991 and again from 2002 to 2009. Clippers games have also aired on KCAL-TV and KCOP in the past. The crosstown rival Lakers aired road games on KHJ/KCAL until 2012, when the team started their own regional sports network with TimeWarner Cable, now known as Spectrum. KTLA also carried Lakers road games from 1967 to 1977.

The Clippers currently share a downtown arena with the Lakers but beginning in fall 2024, the team will move into its new own new digs in suburban Inglewood, where the Lakers played at the Forum from 1967 to 1999 and is home to the new NFL football stadium.

With a week in the book, three new major syndicated strips have their first ratings reports, and they are as follows:

– Jennifer Hudson (Warner Bros.): 0.7 rating/3 share

– Sherri Sheppard (Debmar-Mercury): 0.7 rating/4 share

Pictionary (Fox/CBS): 0.3 rating/1 share

Keep in mind these are overnight metered market reports (similar to what you you saw in the first article) as syndicators generally use Nielsen’s (usually flawed) weekly syndication ratings chart, highlighting households and women 25-54, the key demo for most programs.

In good news for Hudson, the show improved the year-ago time period ratings by 17 percent, while Sherri was mostly flat from last year’s time-periods, mostly occupied by Wendy Williams‘ former show in top markets. The majority of both talk shows in top markets are cleared on Fox-owned stations, including Fox 32 in Chicago, where they run in tandem from 10 a.m.-noon.

Hudson’s best performance didn’t come from her hometown – instead, it came from ABC affiliate WCVB in Boston, where it took over Ellen’s old 3 p.m. time period and improve the ratings by 27 percent. In Chicago, Hudson at 11 a.m. is up against several local newscasts on other stations.

As for Pictionary, the game show reboot’s ratings are reflective of its weak station lineup, consisting mostly of CW and My Network TV affiliates. But the show has improved time periods in New York, WNYW scored a 0.4/2 at 1 p.m., up 33 percent from previous time period occupant The Good Dish. Pictionary is paired with fellow Fox game show 25 Words Or Less in many markets including Chicago, where both air back-to-back from 3 to 5 p.m.

National ratings for all three will be released next week. Meanwhile, overnight numbers for CBS Media Ventures’ The Neighborhood, Disney’s American Housewife, and Trifecta’s first-run iCRIME with Elizabeth Vargas were not made available. Another new show (Karamo) debuted Monday.

The new NBC News Daily, the one-hour news show who replaced Days Of Our Lives in most markets, drew an average of 935,000 viewers in its first week, down considerably from what the soap opera earned in the same slot the previous week and year-to-year. 

Further reading:

David Kaplan participates in Walk As One Chicago, an event he is partnering with Bernie’s Book Bank to help distribute free books to K-6th grade students. A twenty-mile circular route starting at Guaranteed Rate Field and ending at the same place, the event takes place this Thursday. For more information, click here.

Local news thriving in the Twin Cities’ media market. (Next TV)

St. Louis boring? Not in media as a profane off-air exchange on a local radio show lands a KTVI anchor in hot water. (Inside Radio)

The Lost Factor: 2000 wasn’t a great year for number ones, or for Top 40 in general, shitty songs like Who Let The Dogs Out and Dance With Me included. Here are some of the “Lost” songs radio stations are now ignoring. (Stereogum/Sean Ross/Radio Insight)


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