Jemele Hill

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Ratings News and Notes

  • With the controversy surrounding ESPN anchor Jemele Hill as she described Donald Trump as a “white supremacist” via several tweets on Monday, Sep. 11 and the White House twice suggesting for her firing, how did the uproar affect the ratings for her weeknight show “SC6” (6 p.m. SportsCenter)? The short answer: ratings relatively remained the same.

    For Sep. 12-15, 2017, “SC6” averaged 448,000 viewers. It fell 34 percent from its 5:30 p.m. lead-in, “Pardon the Interruption” (PTI) that averaged 676,000 viewers over the same period.

    For the seven dates that the 6 p.m. “SportsCenter” followed “PTI” on the ESPN flagship network pre-controversy — for Aug. 21-25 and Sep. 5-6 — the 6 p.m. “SportsCenter” averaged 454,000 viewers while “PTI” averaged 693,000 viewers. The 6 p.m. “SportsCenter” earned roughly the same retention from “PTI” on ESPN for the two weeks prior to Sep. 11 (65 percent retention) as for the week that involved the controversy (66 percent retention).

    Compared to the same week in the same time slots one year ago (Sep. 13-16, 2016), “PTI” was down 17 percent (676,000 viewers vs. 816,000 viewers) while “SC6” fell 20 percent (448,000 viewers vs. 562,000 viewers); Michael Smith no Jemele Hill were not hosts of last year’s 6 p.m. “SportsCenter”.

    The 6 p.m. “SportsCenter” retention from “PTI” for Sep. 13-16, 2016 was 69 percent. Going by the year-to-year compatible editions of pre-controversy 6 p.m. “SportsCenter”, it was down 10 percent (408,000 viewers for Aug. 24-25, 2017 vs. 451,000 viewers for Aug. 25-26, 2016),

    While it remains to be seen whether or not there will be drastic ratings erosion for “SC6” in the long-term, the immediate conclusion one can draw from the current “SC6” ratings — pre or post Hill’s tweets is that its ebbs and flows have so far been negligible over the past month and its ratings movements (ups or downs) are directly parallel to those of its “PTI” lead-in.

  • ESPN reassumed its Monday night position as the top network on television in all key figures on Sep. 11 with the Week 1 “Monday Night Football” doubleheader of New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings and Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos — the latter game featured the infamous sideline report by Sergio Dipp that lit up social media.

    The two games averaged 10.68 million viewers and 5.26 million adults 18-49 from 6:55 p.m. to 1:21 a.m. Eastern. This was down 8 percent in total viewers (vs. 11.61 million) and down 9 percent among adults 18-49 (vs. 5.75 million) from the year-ago doubleheader of Pittsburgh-Washington and L.A. Rams-San Francisco on Sep. 12, 2016.

    The declines are even steeper when comparing to the Week 1 MNF doubleheader of two years ago — Philadelphia-Atlanta and Minnesota-San Francisco on Sep. 14, 2015 — down 23 percent in total viewers (vs. 13.92 million) and down 26 percent among adults 18-49 (vs. 7.1 million).


ESPN Top 25 (and Select) Programs

ESPN ratings for September 11-17, 2017
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In total viewership for its entire week in Prime Time (8 p.m. to 11 p.m.), ESPN is up 20 percent (2,867,000 vs. 2,386,000) from one week earlier and down 15 percent (2,867,000 vs. 3,374,000) from the same week one year ago (September 12-18, 2016).

In total viewership for its entire week in Total Day (6 a.m. to 5:59 a.m.), ESPN is up 14 percent (1,034,000 vs. 911,000) from one week earlier and down 12 percent (1,034,000 vs. 1,176,000) from the same week one year ago (September 12-18, 2016).

ESPN’s daily programs viewership averages for the week:

  • “First Take” (ESPN, Sep. 11-15 10 a.m.): 467,000 (271,000 adults 18-49)
  • “Outside the Lines: First Report” (ESPN, Sep. 11-15): 323,000 (198,000 adults 18-49)
  • “NFL Live” (ESPN, Sep. 11-15): 415,000 (236,000 adults 18-49)
  • “SportsNation” (ESPN, Sep. 11-15): 388,000 (240,000 adults 18-49)
  • “Highly Questionable” (ESPN, Sep. 13-15): 396,000 (229,000 adults 18-49)
  • “Around the Horn” (ESPN, Sep. 11-15): 465,000 (242,000 adults 18-49)
  • “Pardon the Interruption” (ESPN, Sep. 11-15): 688,000 (326,000 adults 18-49)
  • “Daily Fantasy Show” (ESPN, Sep. 11-12): 334,000 (221,000 adults 18-49)
  • “SportsCenter” (ESPN, Sep. 11-15 7 a.m.): 337,000 (198,000 adults 18-49)
  • “SportsCenter” (ESPN, Sep. 11-15 8 a.m.): 313,000 (172,000 adults 18-49)
  • “SportsCenter” (ESPN, Sep. 11-15 9 a.m.): 361,000 (196,000 adults 18-49)
  • “SportsCenter” (ESPN, Sep. 12-15 6 p.m.): 448,000 (271,000 adults 18-49)
  • “SportsCenter” (ESPN, Sep. 12, 14 & 17 11 p.m.): 629,000 (363,000 adults 18-49)
  • “SportsCenter” (ESPN, Sep. 11-12, 14 & 17 midnight): 1,137,000 (680,000 adults 18-49)
  • “SportsCenter at Night” (ESPN, Sep. 12-14 & 17 1 a.m.): 484,000 (269,000 adults 18-49)


ESPN2 Top 25 (and Select) Programs

ESPN2 ratings for September 11-17, 2017
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In total viewership for its entire week in Prime Time (8 p.m. to 11 p.m.), ESPN2 is down 42 percent (332,000 vs. 571,000) from one week earlier and down 13 percent (332,000 vs. 380,000) from the same week one year ago (September 12-18, 2016).

In total viewership for its entire week in Total Day (6 a.m. to 5:59 a.m.), ESPN2 is down 43 percent (191,000 vs. 337,000) from one week earlier and down 26 percent (191,000 vs. 259,000) from the same week one year ago (September 12-18, 2016).

ESPN2’s daily show viewership averages for the week:

  • “Mike & Mike in the Morning” (ESPN2, Sep. 11-15): 211,000 (106,000 adults 18-49)
  • “College Football Live” (ESPN2, Sep. 13): 133,000 (55,000 adults 18-49)
  • “MLB Network’s Intentional Talk” (ESPN2, Sep. 11-15): 77,000 (39,000 adults 18-49)
  • “The Paul Finebaum Show” (ESPN2, Sep. 11-15): 114,000 (65,000 adults 18-49)
  • “Daily Fantasy Football” (ESPN2, Sep. 11-15): 75,000 (42,000 adults 18-49)
  • “Jalen & Jacoby” (ESPN2, Sep. 12 & 14 late night): 86,000 (53,000 adults 18-49)
  • “ESPN FC” (ESPN2, Sep. 17): 62,000 (38,000 adults 18-49)
  • “First Take” (ESPN2, Sep. 15): 119,000 (63,000 adults 18-49)
  • “NBA: The Jump” (ESPN2, Sep. 11): 105,000 (71,000 adults 18-49)
  • “Nacion ESPN” (ESPN2, Sep. 14): 103,000 (32,000 adults 18-49)
  • “SportsCenter” (ESPN2, Sep. 11-15 10 a.m.): 149,000 (75,000 adults 18-49)
  • “SportsCenter” (ESPN2, Sep. 11-15 11 a.m.): 147,000 (70,000 adults 18-49)
  • “SportsCenter” (ESPN2, Sep. 11 6 p.m.): 150,000 (80,000 adults 18-49)
  • “SportsCenter” (ESPN2, Sep. 14-15 7 p.m.): 122,000 (59,000 adults 18-49)
  • “SportsCenter” (ESPN2, Sep. 13 11 p.m.): 196,000 (146,000 adults 18-49)
  • “SportsCenter” (ESPN2, Sep. 13 & 15 midnight): 114,000 (65,000 adults 18-49)
  • “SportsCenter” (ESPN2, Sep. 15 1 a.m.): 191,000 (112,000 adults 18-49)


ESPNU Top 25 (and Select) Programs

ESPNU ratings for September 11-17, 2017
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In total viewership for its entire week in Prime Time (8 p.m. to 11 p.m.), ESPNU is up 6 percent (141,000 vs. 133,000) from one week earlier and down 2 percent (141,000 vs. 144,000) from the same week one year ago (September 12-18, 2016).

In total viewership for its entire week in Total Day (6 a.m. to 5:59 a.m.), ESPNU is down 7 percent (67,000 vs. 72,000) from one week earlier and up 8 percent (67,000 vs. 62,000) from the same week one year ago (September 12-18, 2016).

ESPNU’s daily show viewership averages for the week:

  • “The Dan Le Batard Show” (ESPNU, Sep. 13-15): 24,000 (14,000 adults 18-49)

Source: Live+Same Day data, Nielsen Media Research

About Douglas Pucci

Douglas Pucci is a contributor to Programming Insider and blogger at Son of the Bronx.

  • Joeb Henny

    Don’t believe what they say.
    I cancelled ESPN from my cable package as did countless others.
    Miss Hill, is a disgrace to the American people.
    Should have been fired immediately…

    • Shawn Diiorio

      Such original thoughts here.

      • MR Mr

        Which means what? What should he had said to express his opinon that whould have given it more originality? Lol, She is a disgusting racist pig,hiding behined her liberal employer to spread unfounded hate against the POTUS. Is that original enough for you?

        • Shawn Diiorio


          • MR Mr

            Well than your a moron.

          • Shawn Diiorio

            Which means what?

        • Patrick Ryan Williford

          How the hell is she racist? Please explain with factual logic and not just “She hates Trump so she’s racist!”

          • $$Congress$$

            She posted unfounded derogatory statements based on someone’s race. Making comments that they are a Whitesupremist is like commenting Ms. Hill is the N word.

          • MR Mr

            Thank you for responding. She and all these other celebs can disrespect the president and call him a racist and white supremist which is all B.S but call Mildread X a racist you get all upset. Im not a Trump fan but the utter disrespect these elitist celebs and athletes are showing to the POTUS is a disgrace and of course he is going to fight back.

          • Shawn Diiorio

            If Jemele were a white man, no one would have cared about what she said about Trump. That to me is the biggest issue.

          • MR Mr

            Funny how that goes for blacks when it comes to the N word huh. Nothing but double standards when it comes to race. Blacks can say whatever but god forbide a white persons stands up for their race. Its ridiculous and what you are seeing is people are fed up with it. First thing we did was elect trump. Next we will roll back all that affirmitive action special treatment while also securing boarders and evicting illegals who dont belong and not a damn thing u can do about it.

          • Patrick Ryan Williford

            “Unfounded” Trump has a long history of racist actions and behavior…

    • Patrick Ryan Williford

      You don’t believe verified factual numbers? And how did you cancel ESPN if it’s in most of the basic cable packages?

  • bff426

    There will be controversy continuing over whether Hill’s remarks had anything to do with what will be a continuing decline in SC ratings. The bigger story in this piece is the continuing (accelerating?) decline in overall ESPN ratings. The ratings decline is greater than their subscriber loss. It will be interesting to watch the contract negotiations going on in New York between the French purchaser of the Cablevision systems, who are in negotiations with Disney/ESPN. Reportedly, Disney is asking for price increases per subscriber for their ESPN/Disney channels. To the outsider, it seems insane to ask for increases for what are declining ratings/subscriber losing channels.

    Charlie Dolan, founder of Cablevision, was a notorious skinflint, and had multiple battles with sports channels over the years, most notably with YES. It will be interesting to see what the new owners say. Every other cable and satellite system operator will be watching these negotiations very, very closely. That may be why Disney feels that they must, at all costs, get an increase, or risk a collapse of the house that ESPN built.

  • Patrick Ryan Williford

    I find it funny how the Twitter narrative is that SC6 has falling ratings and the ratings were so much better before when in reality the show is getting comparable ratings in its current format.

    • ChalupaB

      Considering how much SC6 was promoted around the launch and the fact that the exec’s were really hopeful that the new format would bring back viewers ESPN would have to be pretty disappointed that the ratings are only in line with the traditional SC format.

    • SkiBum

      The show was supposed to “resurrect” SC. Instead it’s showing a 10% drop year over year in performance vs. the show from last year and compared to the lead-in.

      • Patrick Ryan Williford

        I doubt they expected it to resurrect SC. They wanted to promote the duo and they’ve been giving each SC it’s own unique voice so it was a logical choice. ESPN is not going to resurrect anything until they start playing hard ball in rights fees and stop raising subscriber fees. ESPN is one of the primary causes of cord cutters since their rates kept raising bmcable prices.

  • $$Congress$$

    Bottom line: if Jemele Hill’s opinions turn you off, just turn ESPN off. Vote with your wallet.

  • SkiBum

    Losing over 33% of your viewers from the lead-in show when YOU are the primetime show is “steady”? Especially when 50% of those lost viewers return at 7:00? Now that’s some bizarre analysis.

  • what happened to sports

    I refuse to watch sportscenter at 6 pm. The hosts political views have nothing to do with sports. Just because they are on TV, they think they have a “platform” to express personal, political and sometimes racist views. What makes them think what they say has any importance to me? Just report the sports news or whats the point? If I want to discuss politics or race, I’m more interested in what my neighbor thinks, he’s a lot smarter and doesn’t turn everything into a racial debate.