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TV Column
Posted at 02:03 PM ET, 09/06/2012

Giants vs. Cowboys vs. Clinton — CIinton wins


Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo during the first half of the game. (Bill Kostroun - AP)

Bill Clinton addresses the crowd. (JIM YOUNG - REUTERS)
Giants versus Cowboys versus Clinton — Clinton wins.

When the ratings dust settled Thursday, the previous night’s NFL’s season kickoff game between the Giants and the Cowboys had fumbled about 3 million viewers compared to last season’s season starter.

For about one hour of Wednesday night’s game, it competed for viewers with Bill Clinton at the DNC.

From 10:30-11:30 p.m., the game averaged 23.123 million viewers.

During that hour, Clinton’s address, which began around 10:30 and wrapped up at about 11:22 p.m., averaged about 22.769 million viewers across a collection of commercial networks including ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News Channel. That puts Clinton just 354,000 viewers behind the Giants and Cowboys.

Digging deeper, Current TV’s DNC coverage in that hour averaged 197,000 viewers. And, contacted by the TV Column, PBS, whose numbers are not given to reporters by Nielsen, estimates it averaged around 4 million viewers, based on Nielsen fast-national statistics.

Which puts Clinton over the top.

In its defense, the NFL kicked off its season on a Wednesday night, which is practically a crime against nature, after NBC and the NFL decided that preempting the President of the United States to start football season on Thursday, like God intended, would probably be bad PR, not to mention bad politics.

President Obama is scheduled to address the DNC Thursday at 10 EDT.

There has not been an NFL game on a Wednesday night since 1948, NBC reported Thursday, which means no one really important to NBC — the network sells 18-to-49 year old viewers to advertisers — has ever seen a Wednesday night NFL game.

According to Nielsen, the game, in which the Cowboys beat the Giants 24-17, averaged about 24 million viewers from kickoff to finish which is, like we said, about 3 million viewers why of last year’s NFL season kickoff, between the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints, airing on a Thursday, LGI.

On the bright side, it’s still the third most watched “NFL Kickoff Game” in 11 years.

At any rate, the football game scored a much bigger crowd for NBC than has any night of its RNC or DNC coverage.

 And, with no DNC coverage on NBC — the usual broadcast-news frontrunner — ABC was Wednesday’s big winner, finally getting its moment in the spotlight as the most watched network on a convention night. In the 10-11 p.m. hour, which is the hour each night the broadcast networks have interrupted their primetime to dip into convention coverage and therefore the hour in which each night’s convention headliner appears (and sometimes, runs over, like Clinton), ABC averaged of 4.59 million viewers.

But, really, ABC was simply the first car in a 4-million-viewer traffic jamof networks at 10 p.m. CBS posted an average of 4.4 million viewers, MSNBC logged 4.37 million and CNN snagged 4.134 million in that hour, and Fox News Channel brought up the rear with an average of 3.1 million tuned in. That said FNC was the only cable news network to score a bigger crowd than same night at the DNC four years ago.

By  |  02:03 PM ET, 09/06/2012

 
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