Fox sports baseball blahs

Yanks gone, big auds too

The Yankees, Red Sox and Cubs are missing from baseball’s League Championship Series this year, and so too is any early ratings spark.

Fox Sports put up some big numbers with baseball’s Division Series last week but is off to a more typical start with this round of postseason action.

According to Nielsen, Tuesday’s victory by the Los Angeles Angels over the Chicago White Sox in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series averaged a 3.6 rating/10 share in adults 18-49 and 11.48 million viewers overall, leaving the net third or fourth for the night in various categories.

Those numbers rep a big dropoff from last year’s opener between legendary rivals the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees (5.6/15 in 18-49, 15 million viewers). That series built to even gaudier numbers and contributed in a big way to Fox’s narrow victory over CBS for the season in adults 18-49.

The previous year’s matchup between the Florida Marlins and longtime loser and sentimental fave the Chicago Cubs opened bigger as well (5.8/16 in 18-49, 15.6 million).

Tuesday’s numbers are more in line with what Fox generated with its opening night of LCS action in 2000 (New York Mets-St. Louis Cardinals), 2001 (Yankees-Oakland Athletics) and 2002 (Angels-Minnesota Twins).

Net has reason to expect two competitive series, as there’s no overwhelming favorite among the final four teams. (The Houston Astros and Cardinals battle for the National League pennant.)

The World Series is guaranteed to engage either the Los Angeles or Chicago market, although the Angels and White Sox are hardly the Dodgers and Cubs as national draws.

On the entertainment side Tuesday, NBC’s “My Name Is Earl” (5.5/13 in 18-49, 12.62 million viewers overall) and ABC’s “Commander in Chief” (4.7/11, 16.23m) declined a bit but remain strong after multiple airings. “Earl” led its slot in 18-49, 25-54 and 12-34; “Commander” topped its hour in 25-54, female demos and total viewers.

Hot vets “NCIS” on CBS (4.1/11 in 18-49, 16.78m) and “Law & Order: SVU” on NBC (5.6/14, 14.88m) also declined slightly, although they stood as the night’s top shows in total viewers and 18-49, respectively.

In its second week, CBS 10 p.m. drama “Close to Home” (3.4/9 in 18-49, 10.11m) edged up from its so-so premiere and tied ABC’s “Boston Legal” (3.4/9, 10.90m) in 18-49.

And the WB’s “Supernatural” (2.4/6 in 18-49, 5.50m) again held most of its lead-in from “Gilmore Girls,” posting new highs in persons 12-34 (2.6/7) and key female demos.

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