Baseball throws curve at day, night TV ratings

Low West Coast coverage due to baseball depressed CBS’ daytime ratings for the Oct. 5-9 Nielsen week, while NBC continues to slide into the cellar of that daypart.

Baseball overruns also shook up late night ratings, where ABC’s “Nightline” continues to make a strong rush toward election night while “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” has held at the same level for the past several weeks.

CBS averaged a 5.4 rating, 22 share in running its daytime win streak to 188 weeks, though second-placer ABC (4.5/18) held a wide advantage among the key sales demographic, women age 18-49, with a 3.7 rating to the Eye web’s 3.1. NBC, for its part, drew only a 1.9 in that demo and a 2.8/11 in households.

Baseball telecasts on Saturday and Sunday–the third and fourth games of Toronto vs. Oakland–drew a 6.9/20 and 8.6/16, respectively, the latter running over into prime time opposite the presidential debate.

In the breakfast wars, “Good Morning America” and “Today” deadlocked with a 4 .1 rating, 19 share each. “CBS This Morning” (2.8/13) remains a distant third but continues to run slightly ahead of its corresponding year-ago performance.

“Nightline” (4.9/15) finished second behind “Tonight” (4.5/15 overall) in their common half-hour, while CBS’ late night “Crime Time” action shows, delayed by baseball on Tuesday and Friday, posted a 2.4/10.

NBC posted its highest rating for “Saturday Night Live” since last May, as the Joe Pesci-hosted edition delivered a 9.3/26.

Fox Children’s Network programming continues to capitalize on sports preemptions–as well as low network clearances–to be extremely competitive in Saturday morning, ranking second last weekend behind CBS. (ABC was preempted after 9 a.m. on the West Coast for college football, while CBS was preempted after 11:30.)

CBS led in households and children age 2-11 with a 3.3/13 and 5.8 rating, respectively, followed by Fox’s 2.8/11 and 5.0 among kids. ABC posted a 2.6/11 with its lineup and 3.8 children’s rating.

NBC had the second highest-rated show in households, teen hit “Saved by the Bell” (4.8/18), drew a 2.2/10 with “Saturday Today” and continued to rank first among teens, its target audience. The Peacock network continues to operate at a deficiency in terms of clearances, however, reaching 82% of the U.S., compared to 94% for Fox, 92% for CBS and 89% for ABC.

Other weekend sports found ABC continuing to look good with its regionalized college football ratings–averaginga 6.6/20 for two games–and CBS’ early pro gridcast outdrawing NBC’s afternoon game, 13.4/34 to 12.9/28.

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