This is what I’m thinking:
The move of the U.S. Open golf championship from NBC to Fox and from early evening to prime time didn’t have much of an impact on local ratings.
Fox’s telecast of Jordan Spieth’s dramatic second straight major golf title victory had a 3.5 rating on WUTV for almost nine hours of coverage Sunday.
A year ago, Martin Kaymer’s eight-stroke victory averaged a 3.5 rating on Channel 2 for seven and a half hours of coverage.
Fox had two advantages that one might have thought would help it achieve a higher rating this year, and one disadvantage.
First off, four hours of coverage were in prime time, when more viewers are available and where it averaged a 5.3 local rating.
Secondly, there was little drama in Kaymer’s victory a year ago. Spieth was in the clubhouse and only won when Dustin Johnson experienced heartbreak. First, Johnson missed a 12-foot eagle putt that would have given him the victory and then a short birdie putt that would have put him and Spieth in a playoff today. Unfortunately, Fox had to sign off before it had a chance to interview Johnson. However, it wasn't the most disappointing aspect of Fox's coverage, which took a weekend-long bashing on the social networks.
Fox’s disadvantage was that the four hours in prime time meant increased competition from the other networks and HBO, which was premiering three new shows.
ABC’s premiere of “Celebrity Family Feud” actually beat the golf here from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. “Feud” averaged a 6.2 rating, the Open a 4.9 in that hour. "Feud" was the only network show to beat golf here.
The HBO premieres of “True Detective,” “Ballers” and “The Brink” had little impact.
“True,” which has deservedly received mixed reviews from critics for its extremely dark second season premiere, had a 2.6 live rating. The jolt at the end of next Sunday’s episode could increase interest in the series.
“Ballers” slipped to a 1.2 rating here, which is a mild surprise since it is set in the world of the National Football League, stars Dwayne Johnson and had surprisingly strong reviews. Perhaps sports fan headed over to the Open. Or they could have been as disappointed as I was in the almost laugh-free premiere. “The Brink” averaged a 1.7 rating here.
While we are on the subject of ratings, the May sweeps demos have arrived and first-place Channel 2 News is as dominant in them as it was in household ratings. However, the station did experience some drop-offs in the age 18-49 demographic for the 6 a.m. “Daybreak” and it now is in a very tight race in that category. On the positive side for Channel 2, its 10 p.m. newscast on WUTV dominates Channel 4’s 10 O’Clock News on WNLO in the 18-49 and 25-54 demos by a 2-1 margin.
I had to laugh at the idea that Channel 4 thinks more viewers need a 4:30 a.m. newscast. More likely, the start of one last week is to keep pace with Channel 2’s 4:30 a.m. newscast and possibly give Channel 4’s 5 a.m. newscast a little boost.
Speaking of laughter, there was the announcement last week that Donald Trump is running for president, which has required the media to take him more seriously than NBC. The network that carries “The Celebrity Apprentice” is taking a wait-and-see attitude before announcing who will be the host of the next edition of the reality show. It might be best for NBC, Trump and the nation if he drops out before he has to release his financial statements. Hopefully, then he will make a deal with all the other Republicans running for TV attention to be part of the next season of “The Celebrity Apprentice.” If Trump can get Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and a few other long-shots to be on his next edition of the show, I might even watch it again.