American League's Got Talent

Rash Report: MLB All-Star Game Scores for Fox

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MINNEAPOLIS ( -- Move aside, summer hit "America's Got Talent" (at least for a night). It's time to make way for the American League's Got Talent (otherwise known as the annual Major League Baseball All-Star Game), which Fox reports had the highest overall tune-in since 1999, with more than 33.6 million viewers watching a portion, or at least a pitch. The average total viewership was 14.6 million, which was the best since 2002. And in the ad-centric 18-to-49 demographic, the 4.7/14 rating and share was up 4% from last year.

Fox reports that more than 33.6 million viewers watched at least a portion of the annual Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
Fox reports that more than 33.6 million viewers watched at least a portion of the annual Major League Baseball All-Star Game. Credit: AP
The game was won by the American League, which continued the junior circuit's unbeaten streak to a lucky 13. Fox was lucky too, as it also won with an overall 4.4/14, despite a surprising surge of 23% for NBC's "America's Got Talent" (3.7/11), which proved that even up against the Midsummer Classic, it's midsummer's biggest hit. And with an 8 p.m. repeat version tying for second in the time slot with a 1.9/7, the National Broadcasting Co. emulated the National League by finishing second, with a 2.6.8. CBS (1.8/6), ABC (1.3/4) and the CW (.3/1) followed.

American Leaguer Carl Crawford was named the game's MVP. But it may have been the American president who was Fox's MVP, as the Jackie Robinson of politics creates a crowd whenever he appears on TV. Last night, the nation's first black president, wearing a White Sox jacket, threw out the first pitch and later joined Fox broadcasters in the booth.

Of course, while all this made great history, it was just catching up with what's happening on the field. Baseball is increasingly international, as players from Panama, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Japan, Canada and the Dominican Republic were on the All-Star rosters of America's pastime.

Rash chart July 14, 2009Click for PDF
See how all the shows did in the ratings.

And maybe because the viewing audience is increasingly diverse as well, baseball continues to be relevant. Sure, it's still trying to shrug off empty needles from steroid scandals and empty seats from the Great Recession, but overall the game -- as well as last night's pre-game, which was up 10% to a 3.3/13 -- remains a hit with viewers.

Wednesday: After Tuesday's All-Stars, Wednesday features the no-stars of reality TV, with amateurs competing in "Wipeout" on ABC, "So You Think You Can Dance?" on Fox and "America's Got Talent" on NBC.
Thursday: With Wednesday's release of the latest Harry Potter movie, ABC profiles prolific J.K. Rowling, the author of the series.

A lift for "The Late Show With David Letterman," as Paul McCartney returns to the Ed Sullivan Theater for the first time since Beatlemania began.

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NOTE: All ratings based on adults 18-49. A share is a percentage of adults 18-49 who have their TV sets on at a given time. A rating is a percentage of all adults 18-49, whether or not their sets are turned on. For example, a 1.0 rating is 1% of the total U.S. adults 18-49 population with TVs. Ratings quoted in this column are based on live-plus-same-day unless otherwise noted. (Many ad deals have been negotiated on the basis of commercial-minute, live-plus-three-days viewing.)

John Rash is senior VP-director of media analysis for Campbell Mithun, Minneapolis. For more, see

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