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Saturday Night is ABC's New Monday Night

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Deeper_Background, Sep 29, 2006.

  1. Deeper_Background

    Deeper_Background Active Member

    ABC had carried regular-season college football games on Saturday nights in the past, including four games last year, but this is the first full-season series, sort of a collegiate replacement for the departed “Monday Night Football.”

    “I’m glad nobody thought about it before,” John Skipper, ESPN’s executive vice president for content, said yesterday by telephone. “I can take credit for it being on my watch.”

    The credit, though, goes largely to a higher source: Steve McPherson, the president of ABC Entertainment.

    “Football used to be a loss leader,” McPherson said, referring to ABC’s former “Monday Night Football” franchise, which is now at ESPN. “You took a big loss to get a big audience. But this is very good financially and brings in the male audience we want. There’s nothing like having eyeballs coming to the set who wouldn’t normally be there.”

    ABC pays nothing extra for games already included in conference deals and doesn’t have the expense of producing new programming for the course of the football season.

    The series is built on games starring highly ranked or well-known schools, and the games have drawn from 5.4 million viewers for Nebraska-Southern California on Sept. 16 to 13.3 million for Ohio State-Texas on Sept. 9.

    Last week’s astonishing comeback by Notre Dame against Michigan State (ABC’s second Saturday night game featuring Notre Dame) attracted 8.4 million viewers.

    The four games have led ABC to prime-time victories in three of the four college football Saturdays. ABC narrowly lost on Sept. 16 to CBS’s broadcast of the Florida-Tennessee matchup, which generated 5.7 million viewers.

    At this point last year, ABC had carried games in the first two weeks of September, followed by two films to finish out the month, with average viewership that was 41 percent below this year’s four night games.

    Kirk Herbstreit, a co-analyst on the Saturday night games with Bob Davie, acknowledged that ABC received the biggest matchups “for obvious reasons.” But he said he did not view those games as bigger than the ones he calls Thursday nights for ESPN.

    “I might have felt that way earlier in my career,” Herbstreit said yesterday from Columbia, S.C., before calling last night’s game between Auburn and South Carolina. “I see matchups, and I’m locked into this one.”

    Tomorrow night, he will be in his usual perch, with Chris Fowler and Lee Corso on ESPN’s “College Gameday” set in Iowa City before shifting to the ABC booth for Ohio State-Iowa.

    Skipper said that carrying major games in prime time on ABC did not cannibalize those on ESPN and ESPN2. By shifting ABC’s old noon game slot to prime time, the early afternoon games on ESPN and ESPN2 have gotten more viewers. And there are plenty of college football viewers on Saturday nights. ESPN averages 2.4 million, ESPN2 garners 1.1 million and TBS snares 1.2 million more, with a high of 1.5 million for its season opener Sept. 2.

    ESPN has aggressively pioneered the scheduling of games on all days and nights of the week; ESPN would schedule night games in Iceland if it were feasible and enough people crowded around the “Gameday” set.

    Many universities clamor for ESPN’s attention and the national exposure it offers. Being televised on nontraditional nights is far better than not being carried at all, especially if you need the face time to help your recruiting.

    But not every university wants to play when ESPN/ABC beckons. Michigan won’t play at home on Saturday nights; it frets about more than 100,000 fans emptying the Big House around midnight.

    “Because of our parking situation,” said Bruce Madej, an athletic department spokesman, “we think there’s a safety factor the later you get in the evening. It’s dark.”

    But another reason is tradition, Madej said. “We believe in Ann Arbor, football ought to be played at noon or around there,” he said.

    And Michigan wields the power of its masses; it doesn’t need prime time. “We have the crowds, so we’re able to make sure there’s not a night game,” Madej said.

    Oklahoma and Texas refused to move their Red River Rivalry game at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas on Oct. 7 into prime time. But that’s not home for either team. Host Texas lost to Ohio State in the night game in Austin on Sept. 9, and Oklahoma has indicated a desire to play at night for ABC.

    About half of ABC’s Saturday night college football schedule was completed before the season, with the rest to be selected 12 days before the games. Few teams playing crucial games in the conferences that ESPN and ABC control will say no to playing at night.

    Dave Brown, a vice president for ESPN, said, “One can see by looking at our schedule that we aren’t turned down by many people.”

  2. markvid

    markvid Guest

    Only 3 months late...
  3. Deeper_Background

    Deeper_Background Active Member

    you mean the ratings for Notre Dame/Michigan St are three months old? :p
  4. markvid

    markvid Guest

    You're still an ass. Period.
    Try posting something relevant and timely for once.
  5. Lester Bangs

    Lester Bangs Active Member

    OK, I've been around a while, and I have seen him/her post some stupid shit, but why is there such universal hatred of DB here? Just askin.
  6. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    Well, he posted a video of a beheading without warning. That got him banned for a while. He also used to start threads with old news 20 times a day. That said, he makes me chuckle in derision more than gets me in a rage.
  7. Oz

    Oz Active Member

    Wow, I missed that one.
  8. Lester Bangs

    Lester Bangs Active Member

    Sheeeet ... that's all you had to say. </jules>
  9. Trey Beamon

    Trey Beamon Active Member

    D_B is essentially "The Insider" -- minus Pat O' Brien's mustache -- condensed into message board posts.
  10. Clerk Typist

    Clerk Typist Guest

    Didn't NBC once sign a deal with the CFA for Saturday night prime-time games, only to see the NCAA shoot it down; that starting the suit which led to the NCAA's monopoly being declared illegal?
  11. markvid

    markvid Guest

    It's also the same asshole that had it on GOOD AUTHORITY there were 10,000 dead in New Orleans and we were to keep it amongst ourselves.
  12. Lucas Wiseman

    Lucas Wiseman Active Member

    There's nothing wrong with D_B posting this story. I actually found it interesting... let's get back on topic and stop bashing D_B.
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