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Will snow add to Super Bowl ratings?

Despite tons of issues on the field and court battles off of it, the NFL continues to enjoy incredible popularity. The NFL Network has been a huge hit and has become a real asset for the NFL. The Super Bowl has always been an iconic sporting event, but now it has practically been elevated to national holiday status. Television ratings for the Super Bowl routinely set records or come close. We’re not talking about records just for sportsing events. We’re talking about records for all-time television audiences.

Of course, betting and fantasy football have increibly huge effects on the popularity of the NFL and the Super Bowl. Fans will be getting ready to gamble at SuperBowl360.com or at one of the sports books in Las Vegas as they consider everything from the final score to which songs will be played by Bruno Mars during the halftime show. Which brings up yet another draw, as now we have music and celebrity fans making sure to tune in. The NFL has been brilliant about making this an event for everyone, from hard core sports fans, betters, teenagers and more. Women and men obsess about the spread at the Super Bowl party. Even the television commercials have become part of our national conversation.

This year we have yet another factor that might goose the television ratings – snow. Or at least the possibility of snow. This will be the first Super Bowl plyed outdoors in a northern city as the game will be played in New Jersey. As we saw last week, mother nature can significantly alter an event, and the prospect of snow in particular could really change things. Of course, it might just be dreary and cold, and that could actually take away from the pageantry of the event. But a field covered in snow would be a novelty that everyone would semmingly want to see. It might make the actual game a joke, but we might just see the highest Super Bowl ratings ever.

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Hidden Netflix Gems – Goon

Hidden Netflix Gems is a new feature designed to help readers answer that burning question, “What should I watch tonight?” It will be updated every Saturday before the sun goes down.

I am not particularly interested in professional sports, generally ignoring all games except the occasional Olympics or Super Bowl viewing, but every year or so there is a sports movie that comes along and deeply and unexpectedly resonates with me. Four years ago, there was Darren Aronofsky‘s The Wrestler, a beautiful, heartbreaking film that was easily among my favorite films of 2008; the following year, there was Big Fan, written and directed by The Wrestler writer, Robert D. Siegel. This year, the unexpected sports movie that finds a place in my heart is Michael Dowse‘s Goon, a movie about hockey that mostly ignores the game itself in favor of the fights that so often break out on the ice.

Seann William Scott delivers his best performance yet as Doug Glatt, a sweet, lovable Canadian bar bouncer who is troubled by the fact that he doesn’t have a “thing” that defines him. His father (Eugene Levy) and brother, Ira (David Paetkau), are both doctors, and his best friend, Pat (Jay Baruchel, who co-wrote the film with frequent Seth Rogen collaborator Evan Goldberg), has a public access show about hockey, but Doug feels aimless, searching for his life’s real purpose. That changes one night at a hockey game, when he knocks out a player who climbs into the stands to beat up Pat, who has instigated the fight by being his usual loudmouth self. The fight in the stands garners more attention and applause than the game itself, and Doug soon finds himself recruited as an enforcer for a local minor league hockey team.

As an enforcer, Doug’s job is to injure successful players from other teams, as well as to protect his own teammates by beating up the other teams’ enforcers. It is the sense of being a protector of his team that resonates with Doug and makes him feel like he’s found his calling. It also helps him to earn the love of Eva (Alison Pill), a woman he meets one night in a bar when he knocks out an obnoxious drunk who is hitting on her, and the friendship of his team’s star player, Xavier LaFlamme (Marc-Andre Grondin). Ultimately, though, what the film is building to is a showdown between Doug and his idol, Ross “The Boss” Rhea (Liev Schreiber), a brutal enforcer from the majors who has been demoted for his unsportsmanlike conduct. Though Goon follows the expected beats of a classic sports movie, its formulaic nature does not detract from its quality, and by the time Doug “The Thug” Glatt inevitably faces off against his rival, Scott’s charismatic performance and the film’s surprising likability should have even the most ambivalent viewer ready to cheer.

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The Biggest Loser: it’s curveball time again!

Every season on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser,” the producers have a way of changing things up to the point of having us all scratch our heads. Last night there was more of that, though some of the curves came from natural causes. The first of those was at the start of the episode when Miggy had to call 911 in the middle of the night due to abdominal pain, and was rushed to the hospital.

Then came the return of the blue and yellow teams, who would weigh in to determine which team was coming back to the ranch. The other contestants had no idea that one team would return after 30 days, so they were all surprised and kind of nervous. Host Allison Sweeney instructed the blue and yellow teams to go and weigh in, but instead they were met in the gym by Bob and Jillian, who put them through a last chance workout.

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TCA Press Tour: CBS Executive Session

Nina Tassler, President of CBS Entertainment, favored us with her presence this morning at the TCA tour, sitting down for an executive session which provided us with the following quotes and tidbits:

* Regarding the decision to place the new reality series “Undercover Boss” in the plum spot following the Super Bowl, she said that it was a combination of good timing and a good series. “We’re very high on the show, but we spent a lot of time talking about what the right strategy would be,” she said. “We’ve seen five or six episodes of ‘Undercover Boss’ by now, and there is a tone and a quality to the show that we felt was a great fit after the Super Bowl. It is aspirational. It is a feel-good program.
Everybody who is sitting and watching the Super Bowl, be you 8 or 80, can stay right there and enjoy the program. I think 15 years ago, that spot was used to launch new programming. Obviously, in the last 10, 15 years it’s been used more as a platform to get greater exposure for existing shows. But we thought, ‘You know what? We have a great project, we’re very high on it, and we think we’re going to launch another big-branded reality show.’”

* Obviously, NBC’s continued fall from grace via the great failure that was “The Jay Leno Show” was a topic of conversation that everyone wanted Tassler to weigh in on. “Through it all, we have to realize that ABC, CBS and FOX…we’ve all fared, I think, very well during this experimental phase for NBC,” she said. “But if we can harken back to when there was that grand proclamation about 8 o’clock at NBC…? Remember? We all wrote about that: 8 o’clock was over at NBC. They were going to have a whole different strategy developing for 8 o’clock. And then along came 10 o’clock, and they were going to have a whole different strategy for 10 o’clock. You know, I think ultimately, there is no substitute for developing great shows, working with great talent, and getting your program on the air.”

“The unfortunate thing is that our creative community was to some degree somewhat bruised by this,” she continued. “I think that the talent as this was taking place, a lot of people were put out of work. A lot of people really saw this as having a pretty negative impact on our business. But I think right now for us, it just allowed us to get a bigger piece of the ad revenue pie at 10 o’clock, and again, what I have the most trouble with is for their company, their decision to do what they did, to sort of turn that and say that his is a reflection on the whole network business, I think is misguided. Our business is thriving right now. We are enjoying success with new hit shows, as is ABC, as is FOX. So I think at the end of the day, it was an experiment that obviously did not work, but for us, like I said, there’s no substitute for just developing and producing and launching great shows.”

There’s certainly no question that a couple of CBS earned some additional success from viewers’ indifference to “The Jay Leno Show.” As Tassler observed, “We moved ‘The Mentalist’ to 10 o’clock on Thursday night and launched ‘The Good Wife,’ so 10 o’clock has been good business for us.”

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No post-Super Bowl Monday night surge for NBC

NBC’s Monday night dramas were front and center during the network’s coverage of the Super Bowl, but that failed to translate to huge ratings on Monday night, according to Variety.

Looking at Monday, NBC’s “Chuck” kicked things off with season highs (3.0 rating/7 share in adults 18-49, 8.3 million viewers overall), although this left it in fourth place in one of the week’s toughest hours. It was followed by “Heroes” (3.9/9 in 18-49, 8.5 million viewers overall), which placed third at 9 o’clock although it did defeat its drama competition, Fox’s “24,” in key demos. And closing out the night, the season premiere of “Medium” (2.9/7 in 18-49, 8.5 million viewers overall) ranked second or third in its timeslot in various categories, the net’s best series performance in the hour since the series premiere of “My Own Worst Enemy” in October.

While I haven’t watched “Chuck” or “Medium” yet this week, the return of “Heroes” was pretty strong. It will be interesting to watch that “Heroes”/”24″ battle for the rest of the season.

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