Did Favre lead cable to a new first? [Updated]
UPDATED: So we have heard from our friends at Nielsen and are amending our post yesterday about the Vikings and Packers games. While it did beat all the competition. It was not the first time that a cable telecast had done that to broadcast during the TV season. In 2007, the game between the Patriots and Ravens also beat all the broadcast competition. HOWEVER, that game was in December when the broadcast networks were in post-November sweeps rerun mode so there was still something of a first last week in that the game beat fresh new broadcast programming.
It may be time to add one more record to Brett Favre's resume.
The Minnesota Vikings' defeat of the Green Bay Packers last Monday not only set a record for a cable program with 21.8 million viewers watching Brett Favre beat his old team, but also beat all the broadcast television competition last week in viewers and adults 18-49.
As far as we can tell, this is the first time that a cable network has the most-viewed program in viewers and adults 18-49 during the TV season. (While Disney Channel's "High School Musical" beat the broadcast networks in viewers in 2007, that was during the summer when competition was light.)
We have done some digging, and this does appear to be the case. ESPN wasn't sure nor were the broadcast networks, but after some checking no one came up with any other example of a cable show finishing first among all TV shows during the TV season.
Of course, that it was a big sporting event might mean an asterisk in the record books. It's not like an episode of "The Closer" beat everything on broadcast during the regular season, but is that day far behind? What this really says is not how far cable has come as much as how far broadcast has fallen. Like the NFL, it's all about parity.
But if we're wrong, let us know. If there was an MTV Awards that beat everything, shoot us a note. If that special prime time episode of "Sponge Bob" finished first (yes, I made that one up), we want to hear about it.
Until then, kudos to ESPN.
Meanwhile, for week three of the broadcast season, CBS won in viewers and 18-49. ABC was second in viewers and fourth in 18-49. NBC was third in viewers and tied Fox for third in adults 18-49.
-- Joe Flint
Photo: Brett Favre. Credit: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images