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Couric Scores Local Viewers with Manti; NHL Cable Ratings Soar

Some quick hits on a Saturday morning:

Katie Couric got one of her biggest audiences in Buffalo Thursday afternoon for her big-get interview with Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o.

But Couric’s show (3.4) on Channel 7 still finished in third place in the 4 p.m. time slot to “Ellen” (6.1) on Channel 2 and Dr. Oz (3.6) on Channel 4. As I predicted, Couric’s show is operating under a handicap here because it is on Channel 7.

Katie Couric: Still 3rd Here

Katie Couric: Still 3rd Here

 

The good news is the rating for “Katie” on Channel 7 was higher than the 2.6 rating the interview scored nationally. It was the highest-rated “Katie” program nationally since the show’s September debut.

Couric did a very good job interviewing Te’o. She didn’t allow him to wiggle free of his lies, but still enabled him to come off as a sympathetic figure with the help of his parents.

If there was one Couric fumble, it was asking the star linebacker if he was gay based on rumors that it was one of the reasons for the concoction of the imaginary girlfriend. I hadn’t heard the rumors, nor do I think most of the TV audience had. Raising the question just served to spread the rumor. To quote “Seinfeld,” “not that there would have been anything wrong with that”  if it were true. But it most likely would have hurt his NFL draft stock since some athletes aren’t as accepting as many people outside sports.

Te’o responded to the gay question by saying “far from it. FAR from it.” That led to some laughter from audience members.

In the old days of TV, the question wouldn’t have been asked just based on rumors. But we’re far from those days. Far from it.

It looks like Buffalo isn’t the only hockey market that has forgiven NHL players and owners for the lockout. The NBC Sports Network reports the New York Rangers overtime win over Boston Wednesday night was the most-watched NHL game in its history and the most-watched on cable in 11 years. Through four games, the NBC Sports Network’s viewership was up 51 percent from a year ago. We’re still not talking big numbers. The Rangers-Bruins game didn’t even hit a million viewers.

Cheers to CBS’ Shannon Sharpe for calling out New England Coach Bill Belichick for refusing to be interviewed by reporter Steve Tasker after the AFC title loss to Baltimore. In sharply-worded comments that ended the post-game show Sunday without a word from his teammates on the set, Sharpe called Belichick’s behavior “unacceptable.” On the same day, San Francisco Coach Jim Harbaugh declined a Fox interview. And his team beat Atlanta. The 49ers said it was because Harbaugh didn’t want to take credit away from the players, but his refusal was still unacceptable. The fact that he will be coaching against his brother, Baltimore Coach John Harbaugh, in the Super Bowl means a lot of the pre-game focus will be taken away from the players anyway.

If you’re looking to watch Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib, Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson and all the college QBs the Bills will be considering drafting to replace Ryan Fitzpatrick at the position, be aware the 4 p.m. Senior Bowl is carried on the NFL Network today.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Fitzpatrick start the season as the Bills quarterback despite all the reports to the contrary. Or if he is cut to save millions, I expect him to be signed by the New York Jets, replace Mark Sanchez as the starter and face the Bills twice next season.

pergament@msn.com

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1 response to "Couric Scores Local Viewers with Manti; NHL Cable Ratings Soar"

  1. Son says:

    I agree that Fitzy will likely be the opening day starter. It wouldn’t make much sense for the Bills to cut him because it would actually only save $500,000 for salary cap purposes. If he is on the team, his cap hit is $10.5 mil, if he is cut, it is still $10 mil. You are essentially committing $10 mil against the cap and getting nothing in return if you cut him.

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