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Trump's State of the Union is popular despite drop from 2017

President Trump and The National Football League have been at odds this season, but they do have one thing in common.

A lot more people in Western New York claimed they weren't going to watch them than actually followed through on the threat.

President Trump's first State of the Union address Tuesday night had a combined 24.7 local rating on the eight primary channels that covered the 80-minute address.

That was down about 8 percent from the combined 26.8 local rating for President Trump's first speech to a joint session of Congress a month into office on Feb. 28, 2017, and in line with a national ratings decline this year of about 5 percent.

WGRZ-TV, the NBC affiliate, was the top-rated station locally with a 6.8 rating. WIVB-TV averaged a 6.2 rating for second place and Trump's biggest network supporter, cable's Fox News Channel, third with a 6.0 rating here.

The combined 24.7 rating should make the speech the second-rated TV program of the week, behind Sunday's Super Bowl. The title game typically gets ratings here in the 50s, which is one of the reasons why recent presidents have agreed to pregame interviews. They wouldn't get a bigger audience all year.

A year ago when Trump-friendly Fox had the title game, the president was interviewed by Bill O'Reilly.

So far, President Trump reportedly has declined NBC's request for an interview prior to the Philadelphia-New England game. He repeatedly has blasted the network's news coverage and prefers to be interviewed by networks or people who support him.

On another Trump-related note, "Jimmy Kimmel Live" got a local ratings bump Tuesday when the late-night host interviewed porn star Stormy Daniels, who reportedly received a $130,000 payoff to keep quiet about an alleged affair with President Trump. Daniels danced around most of Kimmel's silly questions, except to indicate she didn't know where the statement denying an affair earlier in the day came from.

Kimmel's program carried on WKBW-TV (Channel 7) still finished third here with a 1.9 rating behind a 3.2 rating for first place "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" on Channel 2 and a 2.4 rating for "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" on Channel 4.

However, Kimmel's program was the only one that gained audience in the last 15 minutes when Daniels appeared. The rating spiked to a 2.3 at 12:15 a.m., finishing second to Fallon with a 2.8 but ahead of the 2.1 for Colbert.

President Trump's battle with the NFL over player protests during the National Anthem hasn't hurt the league in its contract negotiations with networks.

Some people may have shaken their heads over reports that despite a regular season ratings decline of about 10 percent for NFL games this season, Fox reportedly paid $660 million annually to carry 11 Thursday Night Football games a season for five years, up from $450 annually that NBC and CBS paid for 10 games. That's $60 million per game, compared to $45 million per game this season.

The NFL remains a TV powerhouse despite this season's ratings decline. All the reports about declining NFL ratings generally downplay how much all network TV ratings have declined.

NBC's "Sunday Night Football" is annually the top-rated program of the TV season and those games typically last more than three hours. The top-rated entertainment program in prime time is either a 30-minute comedy or an hour drama and few get ratings as high as many NFL games.

The NFL also has strong ratings in key demographics, especially with the most difficult TV demographic to get – men.

Additionally, Fox is going to heavily rely on sports and news programming after a pending deal is approved, giving Disney ownership of the production studio 21st Century Fox. And there is no better live programming than the NFL.

While it is difficult for networks to make money on these expensive NFL deals, they do provide an audience to promote other programs.

You can expect a ton of promos for NBC's Olympics coverage during Sunday's Super Bowl.


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