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Traina Thoughts: ESPN's NFL Pregame Show Takes Big Ratings Hit

SI.com | 11/10/2017 | Staff
chrismpotts (Posted by) Level 3
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1. There's been tons of talk about ratings for NFL games being down this season. A new piece in the Sporting News looks at the numbers for NFL pregame shows. CBS, which seems to change hosts every year, is down, while FOX, which has had basically the same cast forever, is up slightly.

The big news, though, is that ESPN is down big.

NFL - Games - Reasons - Ratings - Change

As with NFL games, there are several reasons for a ratings change. It's never about one reason. For instance, pregame shows -- in this era of social media, Facebook Live, niche fantasy shows -- are becoming less and less relevant. Some people with a bizarre anti-ESPN bias will say the network's ratings are down across the board, so that's why their NFL pregame show is down. Of course, there are these crazy things called facts, and the truth is ESPN is coming off their best ratings in months for its daytime programming.

Personally, I think a lot people underestimated how much viewers liked Chris Berman and Tom Jackson. This is Berman's first year off the show after hosting it for 31 years, while Jackson left before last season. Berman became one of the prime targets of social media. Few in sports media have been mocked more over the years. But Sunday NFL Countdown was HIS show. Whether you liked him or not, Berman was a legend, an iconic figure who people recognized and felt comfortable seeing on their televisions.

ESPN - Cast - Crew - Sam - Ponder

You can't knock ESPN for trying to put together a younger cast, but the new crew -- Sam Ponder, Randy Moss, Charles Woodson, Matt Hasselbeck and Rex Ryan -- is just blah. So many media people said Ryan would be a smash hit on TV because he was a good soundbite as a coach. I repeatedly said he'd be...
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