Craig Carton’s new FS1 show has been good by our measure. “The Carton Show” looks good and moves smoothly. Carton has shown he can actually talk about sports with a semblance of authority while still being entertaining. And the co-hosts have been solid.
That said, it may be trailing some test patterns on the Nielsen scoreboard. From The Post:
[T]he average viewership for the first five shows, as measured by Nielsen, was 17,400. Last year, “First Things First” averaged 76,400 viewers in the week of five shows that began the Tuesday after Labor Day and concluded on the Monday after the first weekend of the NFL.
This represents a decline of about 77 percent.
The number is jarring, of course. But it is not all that shocking when you think about it. Carton’s show starts earlier than “FTF” did, people are not necessarily DVRing it yet and — most importantly — FS1 did absolutely nothing to promote the program prior to launch. Rome won’t be built in a day and Carton has a track record of success, so you just keep plugging away and figure it out.
That said, this is the real concern for Carton:
Another problem about the ratings is that they appear to have negatively affected the next several hours of FS1’s lineup. TV viewership does not exist in a vacuum, and shows can be boosted or hurt by the popularity of their lead-ins.
Last year, in the relevant week of shows, “Undisputed” with Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe averaged 202,800 viewers. This year, it averaged 146,400. This is a decline of about 28 percent.
When you start to screw with the money, you are in trouble. And Bayless and his sizzling takes are the money for FS1. Remember how WFAN did not even give Chris Carlin, Maggie Gray and Bart Scott a year before they hauled Mike Francesa back in?
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