Sports Pulls Cable Ahead of Broadcast

Cable networks continue to pop into the big time, being directly competitive with the broadcast networks with specific big programming. TBS had its turn on Thursday night with the New York Yankees-Detroit Tigers playoff game.

The cable network pulled in Nielsen 9.72 million viewers on the night -- in third place for all networks. CBS had 11.7 million and Fox, 11.2 million viewers.

Also tallying a Nielsen 6.2 U.S. household rating, this made the game the best-rated League Divisional Series in cable history. The best numbers for any LDS came when Fox aired the New York Yankees-Los Angeles Angels series game in 2005 and grabbed 13.7 million viewers.

That said, many analysts now say with the New York Yankees out of the running for the championship, viewership in baseball's playoffs and World Series are not expected to seek big heights.

Just looking at the broadcasters, there was tepid ratings news for many shows.

The biggest-rated Thursday show, CBS' "Big Bang Theory", at 8 p.m., was at a 4.4 rating/ 13 share among 18-49 viewers, down 10% in ratings for the week before. The second-biggest-rated show, "X Factor" -- two hours from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. -- was at a 3.8/10, down 3% versus the week before.



Fox won the night among key 18-49 viewers, 3,8/10 with CBS is second place, a 2.9/8.

ABC seemed to feel the brunt of all this competition. Newcomer "Charlie's Angels" sank 20% to a cancellation-watching 1.2/4 at 8 p.m. At 9 p.m. "Grey's Anatomy" dropped almost at the same rate to a 3.0/8. "Private Practice" also lost 20% now at a 2.2/6.

NBC was behind ABC -- though its shows for the most part lost less ground on a percentage basis. "Community" dropped 15% to a 1.5/5; "Parks & Recreation" gave back 10% to a 1.9/5; "The Office" was down 11% to a 3.1/8; "Whitney" fell 8% to a 2.3/6; and "Prime Suspect" was the same versus with a 1.5/4.

ABC and NBC were almost a full rating point back of CBS on the night -- ABC, with a 2.1/6, and NBC, a 2.0/5. Univision was at a 1.6/4; and CW, landed with a somewhat steady, 1.0/3 average for "Vampire Diaries" and new show, "The Secret Circle."

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