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SPORTS WEEKEND

Good News, Bad News for Miller's Debut

September 08, 2000|Associated Press

NEW YORK — About 15.4 million households tuned in to watch Dennis Miller's regular-season debut in the "Monday Night Football" broadcast booth.

Numbers released by Nielsen Media Research held mixed news for ABC Sports, which brought Miller aboard in hopes of sparking interest in a show that has seen ratings drop for five straight seasons.

The three-hour telecast of the St. Louis Rams' 41-36 victory over the Denver Broncos earned a 15.3 national rating with a 26 share, meaning an estimated 48 million people watched. That rating was down 5% from last year's 16.1/27 for the opener between Miami and Denver, which was played a week after Labor Day.

The last time "Monday Night Football" opened on the holiday, in 1998, it drew a 14.8/24, 3% lower than this year's first game.

The show has gone from an average weekly rating of 17.8 for a booth of Al Michaels, Dan Dierdorf and Frank Gifford in 1994, to last season's record-low for the program of 13.7 with Michaels and Boomer Esiason.

Each rating point represents 1% of the country's estimated 100.8 million TV households. The share is the percentage of in-use TVs tuned to a given program.

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