At this point in the football season last year, Channel 11, saddled with an affiliation to a network that didn't have the NFL, was looking in like a hungry puppy with his face pressed against a butcher shop window.
But with last January's swap from CBS to NBC, Channel 11 is getting the run of the store, not only trouncing Channel 45's NFL ratings, but staying ahead of "Monday Night Football" numbers to boot.
Through the first three weeks of the season, Channel 11's AFC package of games is averaging a 12.8 household rating and 28 share of the available audience, according to Sharon Walz, the station's ratings researcher and this week's sole and official "Media Watch" ratings provider.
That's more than twice the audience that Channel 45 is getting, with a 5.6/14, and just a tad above the 12.3/21 that has taken in "MNF" on Channel 2, whose season-to-date Monday night numbers are nearly three full rating points below the 15.1/27 that Channel 13 was getting to this point last year.
The NBC doubleheader Sunday was a big winner for Channel 11, as both the San Diego-Philadelphia (14.7/31) and the San Francisco-New England games (13.2/24) easily outdistanced the Redskins-Broncos thriller (5.2/9).
It should be noted, however, that the Washington game did a whopping 33 rating for that city's Channel 5, with an undoubted share of that audience coming from the southern fringe of the Baltimore market, where Channel 45's signal is harder to pick up.
In other ratings developments, the Orioles' ratings, like their season, have begun to tail off, as their three prime-time appearances last weekend, on Channel 13 on Thursday and Saturday (10.1/16 and 8.7/15, respectively) and on Channel 11 (9.8/18) were down from the 13-15 ratings range from midseason. College football's numbers were off as well, as none of the three Saturday games reached a 5 rating.
The nominees are. . . .
Nominations for the 17th annual CableACE awards were announced this week, and the ESPN family, as you might expect, led the sports categories with 20 nominations, including the first-ever for ESPN2, the 3-year-old spinoff network.
ESPN claimed four of the five nominations ("College GameDay," "NFL GameDay," "Sunday SportsDay" and "SportsCenter") in the sports news series category, and three ESPN types were selected in both the sports host (Chris Berman, Keith Olbermann, Dan Patrick) and commentator/analyst (Peter Gammons, Dick Schaap, Dick Vitale) categories and Mike Patrick got a nod in the play-by-play category.
The Turner family (CNN, TNT, TBS) collected eight nominations, including separate nods for TNT and TBS' NBA playoffs coverage. Bob Neal was nominated as best play-by-play announcer, and Doug Collins was tapped in the commentator/analyst category. Two excellent CNN series, "Sports Tonight" (news series) and "The Sporting Life with Jim Huber" (information) also received nominations.
The awards will be handed out Dec. 1 and 2 in Los Angeles.
Hot blades of steel
It's the last week of summer, so CBS offers up the quintessential hot weather sport, figure skating, tonight at 9 (Channel 13).
Dubbed "Too Hot to Skate," tonight's show -- scheduled against the season premiere of "Seinfeld"-- kicks off 35 hours of CBS figure skating between now and early January and features Oksana Baiul, Nancy Kerrigan and Elvis Stojko doing axels and the like from the boardwalk at Santa Cruz, Calif.