If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. That’s the adage Mike Francesa abided by when he was asked to participate in Wild Card: The Downfall of a Radio Loudmouth, the recent Craig Carton documentary on HBO.
“No chance,” was the text Francesa sent to the doc’s filmmakers, according to Carton.
Carton has previously detailed the origin of the disdain between him and Francesa, which stems from a meeting shortly after he teamed up with Boomer Esiason in 2007. Program director Mark Chernoff arranged a get together to ease any tension between the morning and afternoon shows. The way Carton tells it, Francesa showed up late and never removed his sunglasses, claiming “it’ll never work” of WFAN’s morning duo. Carton and Francesa would continue to have a turbulent relationship throughout the next decade, which was often portrayed on-air.
Returning to WFAN for the first time in more than three years Thursday evening, Carton began by noting the irony of doing so from the ‘The Mike Francesa Studio,’ named after his former foe. Carton also shared that the directors of his HBO documentary, Martin Dunn and Marie McGovern reached out to Francesa to gauge his interest in being interviewed for the film, but he predictably declined.
Francesa has, so far, been quiet on Carton’s return to the airwaves. He wished well for Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts on his way out. Now on to a new show pairing, which will be the replacement of his replacement, Francesa isn’t obligated to send another salute.
The nicest thing Francesa ever did for Carton, was a previous time he followed the ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all’ motto. When Carton was arrested in Sept. 2017, Francesa could have said ‘I told you so,’ he could’ve used the incident as a way of payback for WFAN’s former morning host.
But Francesa took the high road and chose not to say anything negative about Carton after his arrest, conviction and sentence, only offering empathy for Craig’s family.
Now more than three years later, Carton will sit in the chair previously occupied by Francesa, assuming he gets the “power chair” over new co-host Evan Roberts. Expect Carton to continue his past ribbing of Francesa, but that chair is still a difficult one to fill. Despite falling behind The Michael Kay Show for his final book in afternoon drive with WFAN last year, Francesa’s run of success in sports radio remains unmatched.
Brandon Contes is a former reporter for BSM, now working for Awful Announcing. You can find him on Twitter @BrandonContes or reach him by email at Brandon.Contes@gmail.com.
ABC Scores Most Watched NBA Saturday Primetime Game In 4 Years
“The game drew 3.7 million viewers.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.