It looks like Tony Kornheiser picked the wrong week to possibly insult Mexican dry cleaners. That’s because, according to the FORTH WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, Monday night’s ESPN broadcast of the Cowboys/Eagles game was the most-watched event in cable TV history, drawing in a whopping 18.6 million viewers.
To put that into some perspective, that’s more than 6.5 million more viewers who turned into the first showing of the series finale of The Sopranos. Although I think viewers were probably miffed by ESPN’s decision to have the screen cut to black just as Donovan McNabb released his final fourth down throw. (Some fans think they deserve closure during a game - yeesh.)
So if it seems like everyone and their mother was watching the game when you got into work yesterday, it’s probably because…well, they were. This news must be a shot in the arm to ESPN, who revamped the broadcasts in the off-season, including axing sideline reporters Michele Tafoya and Suzy Kolber and cutting down the celebrity visits to focus on, you know, the game.
The changes seem to have paid off so far: along with this ratings bonanza, AWFUL ANNOUNCING reports that last week’s doubleheader on Opening Week was up seven to eight points versus viewership in 2007. And the ratings juggernaut should continue this week, as the Monday night game features the Jets taking on the hard luck Chargers. There may be a compelling story line or two in that game.
So the next time DeSean Jackson wants to screw up while celebrating a touchdown (and history says this will happen again) he might want to consider doing it during a regional broadcast of a game against a lowly opponent. Week 8 against the Falcons seems like a good time.