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Irvin, Davis Named in ex-NFL Network Employee’s Suit

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Erin McParland, the former NFL Network makeup artist that penned a first hand account of her time at the network for Sports Illustrated last December has filed suit against the network and two prominent personalities. Both Michael Irvin and Eric Davis are accused of sexual harassment. The network is accused of mishandling McParland’s complaint about Davis to Human Resources.

This is the second lawsuit of this type filed against the NFL Network. As Awful Announcing notes, the first one led to major shakeups not just at the NFL Network, but at other outlets that had hired former NFL Network staffers.

Her account seemed like a lawsuit waiting to happen, and now it has, the second such lawsuit filed against the network. The first led to the suspensions of Marshall Faulk, Heath Evans, and Ike Taylor from their NFL Network duties, as well as the firing of Donovan McNabb and Eric Davis from their new gigs at ESPN.

In the lawsuit, McParland claims Michael Irvin “made inappropriate gestures and comments to (McParland) and once grabbed (McParland’s) waist”. The suit also claims that Eric Davis was guilty of multiple instances of inappropriate and unwelcome advances both in person and on social media. Davis is also accused of hugging McParland and “force[ing] his genitals against (McParland) and he would also rub his genitals on (McParland’s) leg”.

USA Today detailed McParland’s complaint with NFL Network’s HR department.

McParland complained to human resources about Davis and Irvin, but the lawsuit claimed no action was taken until another female employee lodged similar complaints against Davis. The NFL told Davis “the best course of action was for Davis to leave NFL quietly,” according to the lawsuit. 

McParland was assured via text messages that Davis would not be allowed to confront her, but Davis did just that in an off-set trailer where he “aggressively stood over” her, according to the lawsuit. An NFL human resources executive apologized for the “mishandled situation.”

You can read McParland’s first hand account of her time at NFL Network here. As of this posting, Michael Irvin is still listed as on-air talent for the network.

Sports TV News

ABC Scores Most Watched NBA Saturday Primetime Game In 4 Years

“The game drew 3.7 million viewers.”

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The Boston Celtics beat the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night. While the game’s controversial finish left LeBron James and Patrick Beverly upset, executives at the Walt Disney Company had nothing but smiles thanks to the performance of ABC.

The game drew 3.7 million viewers. That means the Celtics’ win is the most-watched game in the ABC Saturday night prime-time window in the last four years. A February 2019 game between the Lakers and Golden State Warriors drew 4.1 million.

Boston also delivered the highest-rated game of the NBA season so far outside of the league’s stacked Christmas Day slate.

NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC is experiencing a nice uptick in viewership this season. Through the weekend, the Saturday night games are averaging over 3.4 million viewers according to an ESPN press release.

That number represents a 16% jump from last season. The edition of NBA Countdown that airs before the Saturday night game is having a good season as well. It’s average audience is up 3% to just under 1.5 million.

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Sports TV News

NHL Ratings on ESPN, TNT Down in 2nd Year

So far this season, games on ESPN and TNT are averaging 373,000 viewers, which is down from 478,000 last season.

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Viewership totals from ESPN and TNT show NHL ratings have declined heading into the All-Star break, but there are some extenuating circumstances for the nearly 22% drop.

So far this season, games on ESPN and TNT are averaging 373,000 viewers, which is down from 478,000 last season. However, both channels have increased their linear television schedule, doubling from 27 games to 54.

ESPN has aired 18 games with an average of 402,000 viewers. In the same time period last year, the worldwide leader had only aired seven contests, but garnered 622,000 per game. None of ESPN’s games last season had aired on weekends, while the network has broadcast six games on Sunday this year alone. The 12 games ESPN has aired that weren’t on Sunday have averaged 491,000 viewers.

The 2023 NHL All-Star Game will air on ABC Saturday, and the network is hoping for a lift from last season. In 2022, ratings fell 38% from the previous All-Star Game on NBC, and hit the lowest total since 2009. The NHL Skills challenge saw its largest audience in a decade after airing on ESPN in primetime on a Friday evening. Nearly 1.1 million watched the skills challenge, a 30% increase compared to 2020.

At this time last season, TNT had aired 20 games. Through 36 games this season, the network has seen an average of 359,000 viewers. The network is helped by the 2023 Winter Classic, which took place at Fenway Park on Monday, January 2nd. The afternoon contest saw an audience of 1.78 million, up 31% compared to the previous year.

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Sports TV News

AFC Championship Game Delivers New Viewership High For CBS

53.1 million viewers tuned in to see the Chiefs victory over the Bengals, making it the most-watched television program since Super Bowl LVI.

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The AFC Championship Game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals drew a massive audience for CBS.

53.1 million viewers tuned in to see the Chiefs’ controversial victory over the Bengals, making it the most-watched television program since Super Bowl LVI. Additionally, the event is the most-watched NFL Conference Championship Game since 2017.

CBS claims the game peaked with 59.3 million viewers and was also the most-streamed live sporting event in the history of Paramount+.

With an audience of 53.1 million, CBS concludes its NFL playoff coverage averaging 40.798 million viewers for each game. That leads all networks thus far. The 2022 NFL season was the most-watched regular season on CBS in the past seven seasons.

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