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Top Sports Ratings Moments of 2021

The following list counts down the biggest sports ratings highlights within the past twelve months, based on its impact on the sports television spectrum.

Douglas Pucci

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During the year 2021, sports were approaching some sense of normalcy. Thanks to the available vaccines, fans returned to fill arenas and stadiums, while those at homes or elsewhere were gradually flocking back to their TV sets or mobile viewing devices. But as the calendar transitioned from 2021 to 2022, the pandemic remained a concern, with a continued impact upon the sports world.

The following list counts down the biggest sports ratings highlights within the past twelve months, based on its impact on the sports television spectrum as we all attempt to come out of the pandemic. America’s four major sports are represented, as are the WNBA, MLS, and PGA golf.

10. NHL Sees Immediate Gains Upon Returns to ESPN and ABC

After a 17-year absence, the National Hockey League returned to the cable network where it found its footing in the ’80s and ’90s, ESPN. Bolstered by its frequent mentions in ads and features throughout its studio shows (most notably, “SportsCenter”), the start of the season with marquee team Pittsburgh Penguins at defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning drew just shy of one million viewers. That was enough to have delivered the largest NHL opening night audience on cable on record (since 1993)

This is the first of three sports ratings moments on this list to have taken place at or surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday. ABC’s telecast of New York Rangers vs. Boston Bruins on Nov. 26 averaged 1.23 million viewers (with a peak of 1.57 million), marking the most-watched NHL Black Friday Gams since 2016.

9. Continued Growth for WNBA Finals

When the stars come out to play, fans will follow. This year’s WNBA Finals featured several notable names: Candace Parker, Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner, and Skylar Diggins-Smith. The series’ peak viewership came on Oct. 12 for the Phoenix Mercury’s Game 2 overtime win (their lone Finals victory) over the Chicago Sky. It delivered 763,000 viewers, having aired on ESPN — the most-watched WNBA Finals game on any network, including ABC, in four years. That figure lifted the Finals’ average to 548,000 viewers across its four games which is the championship series’ largest since 2017.

The Finals have steadily increased in consecutive years (2019-21) for the first time since 2004-07.

8. MLS Has a Postseason to Remember

It was, no doubt, assisted by its NFL lead-in, but Major League Soccer gladly accepted the viewer boost on Thanksgiving Day. The playoffs were already in full swing, and one of its important matches featured the Colorado Rapids versus the Portland Timbers. Taking place after NFL Bears-Lions, almost 1.9 million watched MLS action — the largest audience for the league since the 2016 MLS Cup, which aired on Fox and Spanish-language broadcaster UniMas. The mark was MLS’ largest on a single network since 2004.

Adding to its banner postseason, the No. 1 TV market in the nation became home to the MLS Cup champions, NYCFC. An average of 1.1 million had watched NYCFC’s victory over Portland, the most-watched single-network MLS Cup viewership since 2018.

7. NBA Gives Its Playoffs a Jolt with Play-In Action

Emerging from a season following one that was thrown into flux in 2020, the NBA devised a new look to their playoff format. There would still be eight top seeds in each conference to qualify for the postseason, but the determinations of the 7th and 8th seeds changed. In addition, a mini-tournament that also involved the 9th and 10th seeded teams provided a Wild Card-Esque feel that the NFL, MLB, and college basketball already implement.

Of the six available Play-In games, one was the clear must-see matchup: no. 8 seed Golden State Warriors at no. 7 seed Los Angeles Lakers. It was the first meaningful game between longtime rivals LeBron James and Stephen Curry in three years.

James had previously voiced his dissatisfaction with the new playoff setup. The NBA, on the other hand, could not have been more ecstatic by the monster ratings results from Warriors-Lakers. 5.6 million tuned in on May 19, cable’s top viewer mark for an NBA telecast (excluding playoffs and All-Star Games) since Christmas Day 2011.

6. The Manning Brothers Become NFL’s Newest Star Commentators

Since his retirement, TV networks have vied for Peyton Manning — a popular spokesperson for several products and companies throughout his Hall of Fame career — to join their team as a color analyst.

ESPN had especially eyed him for “Monday Night Football.” In 2021, they finally got him… but not in a conventional capacity: Peyton and his younger brother, fellow two-time Super Bowl champion Eli Manning as commentators on an alternate “MNF” broadcast for ESPN2.

The ManningCast caused an immediate stir. Its premiere attracted 800,000 viewers; it more than doubled to 1.9 million viewers by week two.

Their eye-opening nuts-and-bolts football talk, along with being joined by celebrities of all types like Charles Barkley, Phil Mickelson, Condoleeza Rice, and David Letterman, delivered much buzz for the casual sports fan. It even birthed a new player curse — the active football stars who made guest appearances on it wound up on the losing end of their subsequent games.

5. MLB Wild Card Sets New Milestones

At the publication time of this list, baseball owners locked out the players amidst negotiating terms for a new financial agreement. Among the ideas proposed during negotiations was an expansion of the MLB postseason to either a 12-team or 14-team format. That would lead to a larger Wild Card round, akin to the best-of-three first-round playoff structure tested out in the fall of 2020. Precipitating these discussions are the recently-agreed-to extended deals with ESPN, TBS, and Fox — the thought being that more playoff games will result in more revenue. Nonetheless, if 2021 was any indication, the higher-ups might be tempted to leave well enough alone.

The starting games of the postseason outdrawing almost every subsequent Division Series and League Championship Series game is nothing new. But in this past year, both single-game Wild Card eliminations achieved significant milestones. Of course, it helped that all four Wild Card participants were familiar teams with big fan bases.

The New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox on Oct. 5 — another chapter in their storied rivalry — averaged 7.69 million viewers across ESPN and ESPN2. It was the best viewer figure recorded by Nielsen Media Research for an MLB game on ESPN platforms since covering Mark McGwire’s now-controversial 61st home run (tying Roger Maris’ mark of 1961) back on Sep. 7, 1998.

On the following night (Oct. 6), the St. Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles Dodgers, which concluded with a walk-off win for LA, averaged 6.67 million viewers. It was the second most-watched MLB Wild Card game in TBS history; only Cubs-Pirates from 2015 had drawn more.

4. NFL Dominates the Holidays

We’ve already mentioned Thanksgiving for the NHL and MLS on this list. But when you think of the holiday, you think of the NFL and “America’s Team,” the Dallas Cowboys. Add into the mix the Raiders who triumphed over the Cowboys in overtime, and, with nearly 38 million viewers, you’ve got the biggest NFL regular-season telecast since the infamous 1993 Thanksgiving Dolphins-Cowboys matchup (the Leon Lett game).

Thanksgiving was not the only holiday the NFL flexed its ratings muscles. The league was the figurative bull in a china shop on Christmas Day, the perennial bastion for the NBA, with its doubleheader of Browns-Packers and Colts-Cardinals. Almost 29 million across Fox and NFL Network saw Green Bay’s close win over Cleveland from Lambeau Field, achieving the second most-watched multi-platform “Thursday Night Football” game on record (only the 3-network telecast of Patriots-Giants in 2007 when New England accomplished an undefeated regular season drew more).

3. Baseball Became a Field of Dreams Once Again

Kevin Costner was one of the biggest movie stars of the ’80s and ’90s. During the past decade, he’s been the king of the small screen from his Emmy-winning turn in the blockbuster miniseries “Hatfields & McCoys” to starring in TV’s No. 1 scripted series, the cable sudser “Yellowstone.” In August 2021, Costner achieved another massive TV audience courtesy of revisiting his 1989 film classic “Field of Dreams.” MLB and the Fox network turned the magic of Hollywood into reality in the small town of Dyersville, Iowa, for a game between the New York Yankees and the Chicago White Sox.

The backdrop of the cornfields over the outfield wall, the players’ vintage uniforms, and the game concluding with a walk-off home run by the White Sox all combined for a special night to remember. 5.9 million viewers watched the contest, posting the largest amount for an MLB regular-season game on any network since 2005.

2. The Majesty of the Olympics Loses Some of Its TV Luster

The world came together once more in the spirit of competition this past summer in Tokyo, Japan.

The figurative pandemic clouds still hovered over the proceedings, from athletes disqualified by testing positive for the coronavirus to the empty arenas where events like the Opening Ceremony took place. Overall, it was an antiseptic atmosphere that we American sports fans became undesirably accustomed to in the latter half of 2020.

Nonetheless, this was, after all, the Summer Olympics. It has long been a rating juggernaut, and it always outdrew its winter Games.

But those notions got debunked in 2021, having encountered the modern trends of home viewing. We probably should have known an Olympics still labeled as “Tokyo 2020” for marketing purposes was a bad omen for business at the very start.

Relative to what else is airing on TV, the Tokyo Olympics averaging 16 million viewers per night, is a solid achievement. But the Summer Games had never before dipped below 20 million/night, on record. The Sochi Games in Feb. 2018 did 19.8 million, so surely, NBCUniversal would have sold Tokyo as better than that to advertisers. Make-goods to those same advertisers were abounded, as a result.

Just five years earlier from Rio de Janeiro did the Olympics draw 27 million in prime time. The minimal time zone difference was an important aspect to the more robust number — Rio just one hour ahead of Eastern time; Tokyo ahead by 13 hours. But another factor has majorly affected the state of television since 2016. Audiences for linear offerings have massively eroded. Younger generations have sought other entertainment options, especially streaming services. NBC’s Peacock platform was established as a vital centerpiece for its Olympic coverage. Still, the nascent outlet has a long road ahead to be a go-to streaming option like Netflix, Amazon’s Prime Video, Disney+, or even HBO Max.

NBCUniversal may be bracing for another alarming dip for its upcoming Winter Olympics from, of all places, China.

1. Super Bowl Sets Off Domino Effect

The 2020 NFL season was a tumultuous one. The vaccine had yet to be widely available then, and multiple game postponements were a frequent occurrence. However, it all concluded on time, as Super Bowl LV was held on Feb. 7. And as a bonus, it was a battle between newfound superstar Patrick Mahomes and the GOAT himself, Tom Brady, in Brady’s first non-Patriots season of his career. With big names and known teams involved, CBS was bound for phenomenal ratings.

Or so we thought.

The following morning arrived, and no ratings were released. For what is the year’s biggest TV event since the 1970s, it was certainly an oddity that there was no early indication of how the Big Game performed. The longer the absence of such rating news, the presumption that it received not-so-great results had grown. By the morning of Feb. 9, the data was finally published, confirming the previous day’s concerns: the Big Game underwhelmed.

With over 96 million viewers (including almost 6 million on streaming platforms), the Big Game dipped to a 14-year low. It was also the lowest-rated in households since Joe Namath led the Jets to an upset win over the Colts in 1969; and the lowest adults 18-49 delivery since Washington’s win over Buffalo in 1992.

The results set the tone for the TV industry in the weeks and months that followed. NBC — despite its marquee events that were then-upcoming like the Golden Globe Awards, two Olympics, and an NFL season that culminated in their broadcast of the next Super Bowl — joined their public relations brethren of ABC, Fox, and The CW in ceasing publications of daily ratings releases.

And, in an unprecedented move, the Fox network, the broadcast home of Super Bowl LVII in Feb. 2023, began selling commercial time for that Big Game this past year to guard against any potential championship audience declines.

As 2021 came to a close, the NFL not only remained a ratings behemoth but — as noted on this very list — achieved some multi-decade highs. Perhaps the notion of erosion for the country’s biggest sport may be quickly fleeting. For the league and its TV partners, they sure hope those worries are short-lived.

Lastly, an honorary mention:

  • Mickelson’s Historic Win Lifts PGA Championship

Phil Mickelson was already among the legendary golfers of the 21st century. Back on May 23, he transcended his career even further by winning the PGA Championship. At the age of 50, he became the oldest to ever win a golf major, beating the previous mark by two years. The tournament’s final round averaged 6.6 million viewers — the largest amount in three years. A peak of 13 million was tuned in to CBS in the moments Mickelson had clinched his win. With the exception of The Masters one month prior, it delivered the largest PGA Tour golf audience since the March 2020 COVID-19 lockdowns.

Note: ratings were tabulated by Nielsen Media Research, and most of their provided context was originally complied and mentioned by Jon Lewis of Sports Media Watch at sportsmediawatch.com.

BNM Writers

Scott Masteller Has a Gift for Spotting Talent Early

According to Masteller, everybody has their style, and he doesn’t try to change their core talent. 

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Scott Masteller has seen tons of talent, format flips, and changes during his more than 40 years of experience in radio as an on-air talent, program director, and executive.

He’s currently the program director for WBAL NewsRadio in Baltimore, Maryland. Additional duties include oversight of the production of the Baltimore Ravens Football on WBAL and 98 Rock Radio. He also started the ESPN affiliate in Dallas, Texas.

“After my time at ESPN, coming to Baltimore was the perfect transition for me,” Masteller said. 

From the first moment he arrived, Masteller said people were welcoming; he was impressed with the history and legacy of the station, something he’d followed since he began in radio. 

“When I decided to come here, I knew WBAL checked a lot of boxes.”

He always wanted to be in broadcasting. 

“I started by playing a lot of bad disco records on an AM radio station, “ Masteller said. 

Now that surprised me. Not only because he liked Michael Jackson, but I wasn’t aware there were any ‘good’ disco records. 

After he left ESPN, Masteller said he had plenty of opportunities to stay in sports, but WBAL was such an iconic brand. The station is news, talk, and sports, but he said he was a little apprehensive about the news and talk part. The sports part he had down.  

“In the end, I really wanted something different. After I took the job, they told me, ‘By the way, you’re in charge of Orioles coverage. Hearst is fully committed to what we’re doing here, as they are with all their properties.”

At WBAL, the station delivers award-winning newscasts and local talk shows all day and continues focusing on the weekend.

“I’m as busy with this job as I ever had been at ESPN and other places. We’re reacting to breaking news.” 

Masteller said he started in a small town. 

“I wanted to be an on-air announcer, and I began in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. I was there for 14 years doing remotes, afternoons, and music. I was also a wedding disc jockey.”

So that’s where the lousy disco comes from. 

“All of a sudden, I was doing sports,” Masteller explained. “I was a roving reporter for the Little League World Series. I got to interview Jim Palmer, and he was one of the nicest guys. I started to learn that stuff, eventually did some play-by-play.”

As in many small markets, his station ran out of money and shut down.

“It was a turning point in my career,” Masteller said.”I was excited about baseball and wanted to be an announcer. I sent tapes to every minor league team. One guy called and said he had an opening in Wichita, Kansas.”

Travel-wise that appears to be both a blessing and a bit of a curse. 

“I took the job over the phone,” Masteller explained. “I still have the letter from the GM. It was for almost no money, but it was the best experience I’d had, and it lasted for three summers.”

He broadcast for the Wichita Wranglers, the AA affiliate of the San Diego Padres, and traveled with the team on late-night bus rides and flights to Texas. 

In 2001, he was named PD at KESN, the ESPN station in Dallas. When he got to Dallas, Masteller started working behind the scenes, coaching talent, developing talent, and planning. 

“I remember I went for my first interview in Dallas. ESPN had not signed on yet. Just those four letters had that kind of branding. We went in thinking, ‘We’re going up against KTCK, The Ticket,’ one of the greatest stations of all time. A legacy station. We stuck to our plan, localized our product, generated revenue and ratings.”

Masteller put together a strong team at the startup, KESN, including Randy Galloway from the Star-Telegram and The Dallas Morning News on Galloway and Company. 

“I’ve seen what happens, ” Masteller explained. “One station will be successful, and the other station will try to emulate them and do the exact same thing.” 

He said that was a fatal mistake. The Ticket had its listeners and a culture that couldn’t be duplicated.

KVDT was branded as an ESPN station, and Masteller said they played that to the hilt. Mike and Mike were a significant franchise at the time. With the imaging, people thought the talent all lived in Texas. That’s how you merge your national shows with your local audience.

Masteller was recruited to go to Bristol as senior director of content in 2006 and stayed there until 2014. 

“I was overseeing radio and had interactions with television. It was a phenomenal place, and I learned so much. It wasn’t just ESPN; it was also Disney. By that, I mean the culture of the business, how to treat employees, and understanding what’s important. Those are experiences I’ll take with me forever.” 

Whether in sports or news, Masteller believes you must establish credibility with your talent, news anchors, or managers. He said you couldn’t do that on the first day, but the trust factor becomes hugely important. You gain that with open and honest communications.

Masteller knew of Dan Patrick in his early days at ESPN. 

“Dan is the consummate professional. I knew right away there was nobody better at conducting an interview. He knew the questions to ask. He’s got credibility. He treats people fairly but knows how to ask the tough questions. That’s what set him apart.” 

According to Masteller, everybody has their style, and he doesn’t try to change their core talent. 

“Every broadcaster is different. People used to ask themselves what their long-term legacy in the business was going to be. Today you don’t see that as much. People are always looking for that next opportunity.  One of the best things I learned from ESPN was feedback. Learn what I was doing right, what I could do better.”

A good host must know how to pivot to relate on more than just a sports level. The host must be able to react to the news of the day. 

“Sports transcends all aspects of media. It’s not just X’s and O’s anymore,” Masteller said. “You look at a big story today that has global implications. If you’re going to be a host, you’ve got to speak to different things. Things must be easy enough for an audience to digest, especially in broadcast radio. You’re always multitasking.”

Spotting talent early is a gift. Masteller said he’s instinctively known when people like Patrick came along. Then there’s Colin Cowherd. 

“Before Dallas, I was with KFXX in Portland. Colin Cowherd arrived there two weeks before I did as a midday talent. When I heard him the first time, he was a bit rough around the edges, but I knew he was going to be great. He was always thinking about the moment. Preparation for his show was second to none in terms of where he was going.” 

Masteller said Cowherd could talk about politics, social issues, family, and the stock market. Sports is what he does, but he could do a general talk show and do whatever he wanted. 

As the pandemic hit, we were looking at making a change in our morning show; we wanted to do something different. So we merged our two highest profile talents into one program with Bryan Nehman and Clarence Mitchell IV. Even though they were both working remotely, we made a move and created the C4 and Bryan Nehman Show. Sometimes it just clicks, and we all decided the best course was to get them on the air.

 “Because of the pandemic, for the first year, they never saw each other,” Masteller said. “When they finally worked face to face, I remember the first morning. I was listening and knew within 10 minutes they had chemistry. Sometimes it just clicks. All I had to do was get them in there.”

He said what makes him proud in his career is helping people get better, to achieve their goals, and to develop future leaders. 

“I remember starting a new job and wondering if I could really do it. It takes time. I’ve met some amazing people in this industry who want to learn every day. Make an impact.” 

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Chris Cuomo Interview Gives NewsNation Ratings Uptick

NewsNation hopes the upward ratings momentum continues as Cuomo joins their prime time lineup later this fall.

Douglas Pucci

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In his first interview since his CNN firing, Chris Cuomo appeared on the July 26th edition of Dan Abrams Live on nascent outlet NewsNation. Cuomo’s departure from CNN stemmed from an investigation which determined how he had advised his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, amid sexual harassment allegations.

Abrams pressed Cuomo on several matters concerning CNN, as well as on what he’s been doing since he left.

Cuomo stated he’s neither a victim nor guilty of many of the things that led to his ouster. Nor did he claim to be a victim of “cancel culture”, as he commented, “I don’t think I’ve ever been a victim of anything ever in my life…I don’t feel sorry for myself.”

Dan Abrams Live featuring Chris Cuomo drew 187,000 total viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. While that pales in comparison to what the three major cable news networks deliver throughout the day, the figure marked a giant boost from the program’s normal levels — it more than tripled it; for July 18-22, the original 9 p.m. telecast of Abrams averaged 56,000 viewers per weeknight.

Time-slot wise, Abrams was able to best Newsmax’s competing Prime News (115,000 viewers). But on that evening, Newsmax’s Eric Bolling: The Balance (188,000) and Greg Kelly Reports (194,000) still managed to top all NewsNation fare.

NewsNation hopes the upward ratings momentum continues as Cuomo joins their prime time lineup later this fall. His former nightly show Cuomo Prime Time — although rated behind FNC’s Hannity and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show in the 9 p.m. slot — had been CNN’s No. 1 program during its brief run.

Cable news averages for July 25-31, 2022:

Total Day (July 25-31 @ 6 a.m.-5:59 a.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 1.378 million viewers; 182,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 0.688 million viewers; 71,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.485 million viewers; 95,000 adults 25-54
  • HLN: 0.190 million viewers; 55,000 adults 25-54
  • CNBC: 0.147 million viewers; 38,000 adults 25-54
  • Fox Business Network: 0.122 million viewers; 10,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.110 million viewers; 13,000 adults 25-54
  • The Weather Channel: 0.106 million viewers; 22,000 adults 25-54

Prime Time (July 25-30 @ 8-11 p.m.; July 31 @ 7-11 p.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 2.139 million viewers; 277,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 1.138 million viewers; 101,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.620 million viewers; 129,000 adults 25-54
  • HLN: 0.227 million viewers; 68,000 adults 25-54
  • CNBC: 0.205 million viewers; 55,000 adults 25-54
  • The Weather Channel: 0.138 million viewers; 24,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.137 million viewers; 14,000 adults 25-54
  • NewsNation: 0.057 million viewers; 6,000 adults 25-54
  • Fox Business Network: 0.055 million viewers; 6,000 adults 25-54

Top 10 most-watched cable news programs (and the top programs of other outlets with their respective associated ranks) in total viewers:

1. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 7/25/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.482 million viewers

2. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 7/25/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.286 million viewers

3. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 7/27/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.281 million viewers

4. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 7/26/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.204 million viewers

5. The Five (FOXNC, Thu. 7/28/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.128 million viewers

6. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 7/28/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.090 million viewers

7. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 7/27/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.028 million viewers

8. The Five (FOXNC, Fri. 7/29/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.951 million viewers

9. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 7/26/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.855 million viewers

10. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 7/27/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.706 million viewers

20. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Mon. 7/25/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.354 million viewers

171. Anderson Cooper 360 (CNN, Mon. 7/25/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.780 million viewers

220. Real Time With Bill Maher “Episode 606” (HBO, Fri. 7/29/2022 10:01 PM, 59 min.) 0.656 million viewers

337. Last Week Tonight (HBO, Sun. 7/31/2022 11:00 PM, 34 min.) 0.458 million viewers

344. The Daily Show (CMDY, Tue. 7/26/2022 11:00 PM, 31 min.) 0.448 million viewers

351. Forensic Files II “Unraveled” (HLN, Sun. 7/31/2022 10:30 PM, 30 min.) 0.432 million viewers

376. Varney & Company (FBN, Fri. 7/29/2022 11:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.386 million viewers

408. Full Frontal with Samantha Bee “Episode 7215” (TBS, Thu. 7/28/2022 10:00 PM, 30 min.) 0.346 million viewers

442. Shark Tank “Shark Tank 805” (CNBC, Sun. 7/31/2022 11:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.311 million viewers

694. Deep Water Salvage “(209) Salvage 911” (TWC, Sun. 7/31/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.191 million viewers

705. Dan Abrams Live “Chris Cuomo Interview 7/26/22” (NWSN, Tue. 7/26/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.187 million viewers

Top 10 cable news programs (and the top  programs of other outlets with their respective associated ranks) among adults 25-54

1. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 7/25/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.501 million adults 25-54

2. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 7/27/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.494 million adults 25-54

3. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 7/27/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.415 million adults 25-54

4. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 7/28/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.413 million adults 25-54

5. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 7/26/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.403 million adults 25-54

6. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 7/25/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.397 million adults 25-54

7. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Wed. 7/27/2022 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.385 million adults 25-54

8. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 7/27/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.383 million adults 25-54

9. The Five (FOXNC, Thu. 7/28/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.380 million adults 25-54

10. The Five (FOXNC, Fri. 7/29/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.366 million adults 25-54

52. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Mon. 7/25/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.212 million adults 25-54

67. Forensic Files “Trail Of A Killer” (HLN, Thu. 7/28/2022 12:00 AM, 30 min.) 0.182 million adults 25-54

82. The Daily Show (CMDY, Tue. 7/26/2022 11:00 PM, 31 min.) 0.171 million adults 25-54

90. Don Lemon Tonight (CNN, Wed. 7/27/2022 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.165 million adults 25-54

114. Full Frontal with Samantha Bee “Episode 7215” (TBS, Thu. 7/28/2022 10:00 PM, 30 min.) 0.148 million adults 25-54

156. Last Week Tonight (HBO, Sun. 7/31/2022 11:00 PM, 34 min.) 0.134 million adults 25-54

166. Shark Tank “Shark Tank 614” (CNBC, Sun. 7/31/2022 12:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.128 million adults 25-54

318. Real Time With Bill Maher “Episode 606” (HBO, Fri. 7/29/2022 10:01 PM, 59 min.) 0.093 million adults 25-54

496. America’s Morning Headquarters (TWC, Fri. 7/29/2022 9:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.064 million adults 25-54

733. Newsnation: Rush Hour (NWSN, Thu. 7/28/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.038 million adults 25-54

745. Kudlow (FBN, Wed. 7/27/2022 4:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.037 million adults 25-54

Source: Live+Same Day data, Nielsen Media Research

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BNM Writers

Katie Pavlich Has Experienced Success at an Early Age

Pavlich is a journalist, editor, and freak of nature regarding achievement and success. 

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She’s done more in her 34 years than my high school class combined. Katie Pavlich is a journalist, editor, and freak of nature regarding achievement and success. 

As a reporter, she has covered presidential and congressional elections, the White House, the Department of Justice, the Second Amendment, and border issues.

Her story gets better/more humbling, depending on where you stand. When she was 26, Pavlich was named Woman of the Year by the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute. Most 26-year-olds are consumed with growing out their man-bun or increasing their number of Tik-Tok followers. 

Did I mention she is just 34 years old? 

“I guess I was born older,” Pavlich said. “I’m kind of a grumpy millennial. I call myself an old soul that doesn’t really fit in with my generation. I was the youngest kid in camp when I was young.” 

She wrote a letter to Bill Clinton about taxes when she was eight years old.  

“My mom took me to Disneyland, and I broke down and cried because I was missing homework.”

Walt Disney’s frozen head must be sobbing. 

Pavlich grew up in the mountains of northern Arizona, rafting the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon and hunting big game with her father in the forests and deserts.

She was an athlete growing up through high school but not a runner. But, as you might expect from the last few paragraphs, that didn’t deter her. In 2019, Pavlich ran the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. 

“I should have trained more than I did,” she explained. “It was one of those things I needed to do for myself. There were people from so many demographics running alongside me. It was special because I was running alongside people who were injured during their service to our country overseas. I was getting passed by runners with prosthetic legs.”

She still finds time to run with friends in D.C. 

“It’s fantastic to run past the monuments and all the history. I’m not sure if I’ll run another marathon. I probably don’t have the time to train for one. I’ll probably still run some ten miles.” Pavlich said there’s a sobering mile in D.C. while running past monuments dedicated to soldiers killed in action. 

Pavlich can do more than name all 50 states; she’s been to 45 of them.

“I haven’t made it to North Dakota, South Dakota, Mississippi, or Alabama,” Pavlich said. “It’s easier to remember the states I haven’t been to. I heard pheasant hunting in South Dakota is great.”

Pavlich has family in Westfield, Wisconsin, outside of Madison. It’s on her mother’s side of the family—a dairy farm with 800 cows. We celebrated my grandmother’s 80th birthday there. I haven’t been there in far too long.”

She was born in Flagstaff, Arizona, a place Pavlich says is a lot like Colorado.

“We lived on five acres in a house built in the woods. We had beautiful views of peaks and valleys. Surrounded by elk, deer. We had a lot of snow days from school. My father was a big hunter. It’s a way of life for our family. Dad  gave me my first rifle on my 10th birthday.”

For my 10th birthday, I got a baseball mitt.

The family is steeped in respect for the land, and Pavlich’s grandfather was a park ranger in Yellowstone. She said he removed a lot of problem bears from campgrounds. 

Instead of hanging out at the mall, Pavlich rode horses in the wilderness and camped. “Even in late June, it still snowed. We were a family that lived the outdoor life.”

Cable TV was not a thing in her home until she was in high school. They couldn’t run cables out to their house. 

“We only had three channels, so I was watching a lot of local news, Hercules and Xena. I wasn’t allowed to watch MTV. I was mostly outside anyway.”

In addition to being a fan of legendary heroes, Pavlich was always fascinated with debate and politics. “I was always in tune to what was going on. When we finally got Fox News on cable, I knew I wanted to be debating on the channel.”

After graduating from college, she drove from Tucson to D.C., hungry to pursue different avenues. 

“It was a pretty big culture shock going from Arizona to D.C.,” Pavlich said. “I remember thinking to myself, ‘what have I done?  Both places have a lot to offer, and it makes no sense to compare them. Virginia is beautiful and has a large black bear population. Fall is beautiful here. I’ve told myself I never want to take for granted the opportunity I’ve had to be here.”

Pavlich said she knows D.C. is known for a lot of corruption, but it’s an amazing place to see all the monuments and the National Mall. 

“This is the greatest country in the history of the earth, and so many people come here from all over to experience it. The day I can’t appreciate all of that is the day I should move somewhere else.”

After arriving in D.C., Pavlich became a contributing editor at Townhall.com, promoted to editor five years ago. “I started out low on the totem pole, but I dove in head-first. I manage a team with great writers and reporters. I’ve got some amazing columnists that submit every day. Producing new pieces by the hour. It’s exciting to see how they’ve grown in their careers. It has been very rewarding.”

Pavlich likes to give her writers and reporters a lot of freedom to pursue stories they are interested in, giving them some creative freedom. 

Keeping abreast of national news, Pavlich watched the video that recently emerged of a store owner in Narco, California. A man was protecting his store from a heavily armed, snot-nosed, wannabe robber. Before he could get close to the counter, the owner blasted the kid before he knew what hit him. 

“I loved it,” Pavlich said. “You never like to see an innocent person in a position where they have to defend themselves, but it’s great to see it when they do. It’s harrowing. The store owner had a heart attack afterward, but he’s doing okay.

I have very little tolerance for those who want to do innocent people harm. It’s our right to defend ourselves when a gun is pointed at us.”

Pavlich said the basic crux of the gun argument is that bad people will find a way to do bad things. She explained in her experience that people have a standard answer when they are asked why they choose to buy a gun. 

“The most common answer is self-defense. Surprisingly, involvement cuts across gender lines. The stats from the past few years show more women and minorities involved. As a white woman, I’m the minority there. Some of it is skeet shooting. Shooting alligators.” 

Alligators? By the way, do you know what type of gun is preferred when you prepare to shoot an alligator? An AR-15, of course.

“You shoot them right behind the jaw,” Pavlich said. “An accurate shot there will kill them.”

When shooting alligators gets a little boring, Pavlich is busy with her new Fox Nation show, “Luxury Hunting Lodges of America.” The show consists of four episodes where Pavlich and her crew visited Honey Break in Louisiana, Highland Hills in Oregon, Three Forks Ranch in Wyoming, and Gray Cliffs Ranch in Montana.

“What I love about our Fox Nation show is how we show people are more comfortable in a hunting setting. They can come back day in and day out. They can go fly fishing, ride horses.”

Shooting an elk and returning to the cabin for a glass of red wine might take away some of the ruggedness we’ve associated with hunting. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. 

“I’ve had a lot of experience with the rugged outdoors and hunting,” Pavlich said. “I know what it’s like to pitch a tent and cook over a fire. It’s not for everybody, but that goes both ways. What we convey on the show is the experience can be a lot like glamping but certainly a step up from tenting. (Glamping is when stunning nature meets modern luxury accommodations.)

“I’m excited we can show these hunting lodges. Every single experience was completely different. When we show the lodges, we also talk about the architecture, the history of the land. How people are using private conversation dollars, restoring properties.”

A lot of what they shot was predicated on weather, and what was available at that time. 

“I was actually surprised I caught fish when I was out there,” Pavlich said. “I caught a brown trout and a rainbow trout.”

Alligators must have breathed a collective sigh of relief. 

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