Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

While the move of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show from CNBC and USA to FS1 seems to have gone mostly smoothly from an editorial standpoint, it hasn’t helped the event’s ratings so far. As SportsTVRatings tweeted Tuesday, the first night of primetime coverage on FS1 Monday averaged over 400,000 viewers less than the show’s previous digs on CNBC:

That’s way below men’s hoops (Louisville-Syracuse, then Kansas’ crazy comeback against West Virginia) on ESPN and women’s hoops (UConn’s 100th straight win, which came over South Carolina) on ESPN2 as well:

That UConn women’s basketball game was the highest-rated college basketball game on ESPN2 this season, men’s or women’s:

Top ranked UConn’s 66-55 milestone 100th-consecutive victory over No. 6 South Carolina on Monday, Feb. 13 (9 p.m. ET, ESPN2), delivered a 0.9 overnight rating, marking the highest-rated college basketball game on ESPN2 this season among men’s and women’s telecasts, and the highest-rated women’s college basketball regular-season game since 2010. Digitally, the game also attracted 69,000 unique viewers with a total of 1,700,000 minutes watched, which makes this matchup the most streamed women’s college basketball regular-season game to date televised by ESPN. The Big Monday matchup ties Tennessee vs. Duke (Jan. 23, 2006) as the fourth-highest regular-season women’s college basketball game across all ESPN networks.

So, a result like this for FS1 might have edged a typical ESPN2 game, but it certainly couldn’t beat UConn’s quest for history. Of course, an audience of 970,000 is still very good by FS1’s standards, though, and it’s many more people than are regularly watching their programming. This does help reinforce that there aren’t many people naturally tuning into the channel, though, especially in primetime. The ratings ESPN tweeted out for cable networks in primetime in January are interesting on that front (though it should be noted that theirs are heavily, heavily juiced by the college football playoff games):

The FS1 numbers are nowhere close to that, and that also perhaps shows that this move to FS1 may not have been the smartest move for the dog show. While they were reportedly annoyed at having their first night on CNBC rather than USA (thanks to the WWE RAW broadcasts), being on CNBC may still attract a bigger audience than being on FS1, and USA (which used to air the second night) is regularly one of the most-watched cable channels. It’s hard to think of other compelling reasons for this year-over-year drop apart from the network shift (maybe the compelling games on ESPN and ESPN2, but that would seem likely to be a smaller factor).

Still, FS1 seems to be doing a decent job of production on this, and they’ll certainly take almost a million viewers. That’s a pretty good number of people tuning into their channel. It’s just probably a little disappointing for the dog show to see this kind of audience drop following a network move.

[Sports TV Ratings on Twitter]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz is a staff writer for Awful Announcing.

  • Respected Citizen

    20 million people watch the dog show on Thanksgiving, so I have no idea why WKC can’t get on a broadcast network.

  • Derrick M. King

    Remember that this dog show is universally hated by WWF/E wrestling fans who had to put up with an annual pre-emption every February. Even after USA shifted the Monday night showing to CNBC the network occasionally ran a crawl directing viewers to CNBC.

    As far as getting network coverage, remember that this is the king of televised dog shows. Even the T-Giving Day dog shows on NBC don’t get as high a viewership as the WKC dog show because of prime time.

  • MaggieGal (marpel) ✓ᵀʳᵘᵐᵖ

    The FS1 announcer (a blonde), Katie Nolan and the hideous looking interviewer (heavy-set AA woman) were absolutely horrendous. The play by play and color announcers were very good. If FS1 can lose the 3 females first mentioned, they might be worth watching again.

  • Jamesir Bensonmum

    “A decent job of production”? Did you watch that abortion? Chris Myers sounded like he was drunk. He repeatedly referred to it as the “Westminister Dog Show.” All he did was read facts off of cards about presidents and their dogs. The woman he was working with was clueless. She giggled constantly and brought nothing to the table regarding insight into the breeds, judging, etc. The interviews were inane and all Katie Nolan did was read tweets off a board. This was a total car wreck.

    • nathan8848

      Don’t forget the camera viewing the audience all the time..

  • Lou

    Good from an editorial standpoint? The first night’s coverage was horrible, at least for those who follow dog shows. Along with other issues, FS1 dropped long-time Westminster announcer David Frei and his replacement, Gail Miller Bisher, did not provide pertinent information about the dogs, preferring to talk about the handlers.

    The second night was markedly better. Either there was a considerable backlash online or FS1 and Ms. Bisher realized how much different their coverage was from past years and reverted to what had worked previously.

  • Bobby A

    First of all I think Valentines day had a small effect too. Even on the first night, I forgot about the event because my mind was elsewhere. And on the second night, the number of commercials was horrendous. I have NEVER seen so many commercials in a row. It was painful, and I kept switching channels back and forth.

    Lastly, yes, switching networks hurt the profile of the show. My wife didn’t even know what “FS1” stood for. We just found it by accident.

  • ItsBlackjack115

    On the bright side, NO MORE wrestling preemptions!

  • mrpresident

    Can we please stop with the young female reporters standing of twitter boards. Just enough already. I suspect katie nolan might have had something more to offer that telecast…maybe.

  • Paul Bentz

    I missed the first night broadcast, so I tried to watch on the rebroadcast. Whole sections of the dog groups were omitted. The middle of the herding group, including the eventual best in show winner, Rumor. Just not there. But they didn’t skip a single commercial. And as for the actual production, the director should be sacked. I got tired of seeing people’s butts instead of the actual dogs. And the crowd reaction shots? Really? As for the commentary, skip the twitter feed, no one cares.

  • RadioGuy

    I must be missing something because dog shows don’t belong on a “sports” network any more than a bunch of guys wearing sunglasses and visors holding five playing cards in their hands. What’s next? The NYSE trading floor? A traffic cam on the Ventura Freeway during rush hour? Nothing wrong if people want to watch this stuff while they wait for someone else to show a “Lassie” rerun but when I tune into a sports channel, I’d actually prefer to watch sports. And this ain’t it.