October 1, 2020

Olbermann to Return to TV, Anchoring Postseason Baseball

Turner Sports announced on Wednesday that it had reached a deal with Mr. Olbermann to host its studio coverage of postseason Major League Baseball in the fall.

That means Mr. Olbermann will be on the air for the Turner channel TBS for much of October. TBS has the rights to the two wild-card playoff games in each league, and all four of the division series, as well as the National League Championship Series. (The World Series will again be broadcast on the Fox network.)

The news was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.

David Levy, the president of sports distribution for Turner, did not disclose terms of the deal, or its length, but said the network’s goal was to have the studio show with Mr. Olbermann “last a long time.” In the studio role for Turner, Mr. Olbermann will be teamed with the Hall of Fame relief pitcher Dennis Eckersley, though Mr. Levy said the network expected to add to its studio team.

Mr. Olbermann has a long background in sports, including a recent stint on NBC as a host of its studio introduction to “Sunday Night Football.” It was his work as an anchor on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” in the 1990s that introduced him to many television viewers.

But he became best known for his tenure as the host of the MSNBC program “Countdown,” which at one point was the highest-rated cable news show not on the Fox News Channel. His eight-year run at that network ended in acrimony, as have many of Mr. Olbermann’s previous assignments on television.

Most recently, he was the main anchor for the Current TV network, which fired him only a year after he had joined. Both sides sued, and in March they came to a settlement whose terms were not disclosed.

In the telephone news conference on Wednesday, Mr. Olbermann made several joking references to his mercurial career in television, noting that this deal really only amounts to one month of work on Turner. “If you go through the 37 pages of my résumé, you will notice that every one of my jobs has lasted at least one month, so I’m covered no matter what the eventuality is.”

That one month of work means that Mr. Olbermann has 11 months free and he said that he would be “open to pursuing other things, of course.” But he added: “Planning on it? No. Need to? Fortunately not. Whatever else might be out there just could not be as compelling as this.”

He recalled that his first television job was with the Turner company 30 years ago as a sports anchor for newscasts on TBS, when it was a local station in Atlanta. During his first newscast, he said, a mistake with the teleprompter made his entire script flash by in eight seconds, “which I think was a precursor to my entire career.”

Mr. Levy deflected questions about any reluctance in hiring Mr. Olbermann given his contentious relations with past employers, saying, “We think he’s going to be an incredible asset to our company.” He added, “I do believe it is going to work.”

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/06/business/media/olbermann-to-return-to-tv-anchoring-postseason-baseball.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Media Decoder: Blackout Is a Boon for Super Bowl Ratings

A timely blackout that provided both a diversion and a change in momentum for what looked like a one-sided game helped CBS to record the third most-watched event in television history for Super Bowl XLVII.

The game between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers attracted an average audience of 108.4 million viewers. That was down slightly from the 111.3 million who watched the game last February, and the 111 million from the previous year.

Initial ratings from the country’s biggest cities seemed to point to an even larger audience than last year, but the final national numbers indicated there may have been slightly less interest in this matchup than in New York vs. New England last year.

One thing that did seem to help was the power failure, which occurred 90 seconds into the second half and knocked out the lights on one side of the stadium. With the game looking like a rout — Baltimore had just scored to go ahead 28-6 – the possibility loomed that a significant number of viewers would tune out. But the blackout stirred a torrent of comment on social media, and the break in the action may have led to a change in momentum as the 49ers staged a furious rally that produced a close and thrilling finish.

Certainly the interest in the game did not flag because of the blackout. The last 17 minutes of the game were the most viewed, with a total of 113.9 million viewers.

Before the game, there had been predictions that this year’s contest might see a decline in viewers for the first time in years. The conference playoff games this season were down significantly from last season, with the prime-time A.F.C. game dropping by about 10 million viewers compared with the N.F.C. game in prime time last season.

With a one-sided game, the same level of drop-off might have been possible. Instead CBS was able to maintain about 97 percent of last year’s record-setting audience.

The delayed finish of the game also meant that virtually all of the action fell into the prime-time hours — which likely enhanced the ratings somewhat. On the other hand, it meant that the entertainment show CBS had scheduled to follow the game, its new drama “Elementary,” fell entirely out of prime time in the East and Central time zones.

So its ratings won’t even count on CBS’s prime-time record. “Elementary” did manage to attract 20.8 million viewers, despite its late start. That was not the worst performance in recent years for a show placed behind the Super Bowl. Since 1992, that honor still belongs to an episode of “Alias” on ABC in 2003, which was also delayed past 11 p.m. in the East and drew only 17.3 million viewers.

But “Elementary” did score the worst post-Super Bowl ratings since 1992 for the groups that advertisers most seek to reach, viewers between the ages of 18 and 49 and 25 and 54. Its numbers there were still good by any current standard, however, with a 7.8 and an 8.3 rating, respectively.

Those numbers were down considerably from last season when NBC ran the premiere of a new season of “The Voice” and scored a 16.3 and a 16.4 rating in those two audience groups, with a total audience of 37.6 million viewers.

Article source: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/04/blackout-is-a-boon-for-super-bowl-ratings/?partner=rss&emc=rss