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ABC's Heat-Knicks Draws Strong Local Numbers In N.Y., South Florida

ABC's Heat-Knicks Draws Strong Local Numbers In N.Y., South Florida

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ABC's Heat-Knicks Game Four up from Celtics-Knicks last year

ABC earned a 5.3 overnight Nielsen rating for Heat-Knicks Game Four yesterday, up 6% from a 5.0 rating for the Celtics' series-clinching Game Four win against the Knicks last year. The game set local records in both Miami-Ft. Lauderdale (17.4 rating) and N.Y. (8.9 rating), as the telecast marked the highest-rated first round NBA Playoff game in both markets since ESPN/ABC acquired TV rights prior to the '02-03 season. The game set a similar record in the West Palm Beach market (8.3 rating). Earlier in the day, ABC earned a 3.5 overnight for Bulls-76ers Game Four, down 12.5% from a 4.0 rating for Heat-76ers Game Four last year (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

PLAYING WITH FIRE: USA TODAY’s Michael Hiestand writes some Twitter users “thought they heard Charles Barkely use a homophobic slur during TNT’s NBA studio show Sunday night,” but the network claims it "didn’t happen.” Before Hawks-Celtics Game Four, Kenny Smith “was discussing colorfully dressed Celtics fan who, Smith said, ‘was dressed like a fan.’” Turner Sports VP/Communications Nate Smeltz, “after conferring with Smith and Barkley and the show’s production staffers, said Smith said ‘fan’ and ‘definitively did not say’ anything else” (USA TODAY, 5/7). YAHOO SPORTS’ Jeffrey Eisenband writes Barkley “took it to the edge again Sunday night.” While TNT aired a clip of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney at Boston's TD Garden during the Hawks-Celtics game, Barkley, “an admitted Democratic (but former Republican) heckled the candidate.” Barkley said, "We're going to beat you like a drum in November. Don't take it personally. You seem like a nice guy, but you're going down, bro" (THEPOSTGAME.com, 5/7).

NOT DONE YET: In Ft. Lauderdale, Ira Winderman wrote an element of the NBA’s national TV deal, in which games broadcast on ABC cannot be carried by local affiliates, “is that local telecasts cease following the opening round.” However, Sun Sports' Heat broadcaster Eric Reid “will continue to call the games, even if it seems at times that he's talking to himself.” The approach is the "brainchild" of Heat Senior Dir of Arena Broadcasting Services Ed Filomia, “who tired of seeing the team's postseason videos and offseason highlight shows featuring calls of national broadcasters.” So for “each playoff game after the first round, Reid takes a tape recorder and calls the game as if actually broadcasting, home and away, with those calls spliced into team highlights.” Reid said, "For me, I enjoy the experience because it connects me to the game in the way I'm most familiar, calling it. And it bothers me not a bit that nobody's hearing it” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 5/6).

NOTES
: In N.Y., Bob Raissman wrote outside of a technical glitch in the beginning of MSG’s Knicks pregame show Thursday night, “the other curious element was the emphasis on making sure viewers know the Garden is still ‘The Mecca of Basketball.’” MSG had "players saying it” and “fans repeating it.” Raissman: “Anyone else think this is part of another orchestrated campaign launched by Garden suits?” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/6)....In Denver, Dusty Saunders writes, “While I’ve never contended [Doris] Burke is as talented and knowledgeable as ABC-ESPN's Jeff Van Gundy or TNT's Steve Kerr, she's more of a courtside asset than many of her male counterparts” (DENVER POST, 5/7).

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