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"Four Falls" DVD arrives in mid-January; national rating for premiere is low

Inquiring minds want to know:

Will the DVD of “Four Falls of Buffalo” be ready to buy as a holiday present?

Sorry, no.

According to ESPN, the DVD won’t be ready for purchase until mid-January.

However, it already can be purchased on iTunes for $4.99.

Another 11,000 Western New York households watched the “30 for 30” documentary about the Bills glory days in the early 1990s up to three days after it premiered on Saturday night.

The rating here rose from an 8.9 on Saturday to a 10.8 after more people watched it via DVR or some other method.

So about 63,000 households here watched it up to three days after it aired.

It was predictable that WNYers would flock to it.

But what about the nation?

Not so much.

According to the website Sports Media World (SMW), the documentary about the players who went to the Super Bowl four straight times and lost them all was the lowest-rated and least-watched documentary on ESPN following the Heisman Trophy presentation in at least eight years.

Locally, the premiere Saturday night had the best rating for a "30 for 30" in a local market in five years.

According to SMW, the premiere of the program had a 1.0 national rating and 1.5 million viewers, which was down 17 percent in ratings and 21 percent in viewership from “The U Part II,” which appeared after last year’s Heisman Trophy presentation.

However, the low rating for “Four Falls” comes with some asterisks.

  • The critically-praised film started at 9:30 p.m. in the east after the Heisman Trophy was presented to Alabama’s Derrick Henry, which meant it ended at 11:30 p.m. All previous documentaries aired at 9 p.m. and ended at a more reasonable 11 p.m.
  • The Heisman program also didn’t provide its usual strong lead it. SMW said the Heisman tied a 14-year low in ratings and had the lowest viewership in nine years. It had a 1.9 rating and 3.1 viewers.
  • At least four of the last eight documentaries that have been carried after the Heisman Trophy presentation have experienced bigger drops than the 0.9 drop that “Four Falls” had from the Heisman.
  • In addition, all of the previous “30 for 30” documentaries after the Heisman focused on college football stories, which were more compatible with the Heisman.
  • Finally, more and more viewership of TV programs comes on delayed viewing every year so the decline in premiere night viewing really isn’t that big a surprise.

More Ratings: The Republican debate on CNN Tuesday averaged an 8.9 rating from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday. “The Voice” finale in which Jordan Smith was crowned the winner had a 12.1 rating on Channel 2 over the same two hours as the debate. NBC’s “Adele” special had a 7.5 rating Monday on Channel 2.

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