That's the concern at FOX, where post-season baseball has been down double digits in the ratings and FOX has reportedly already had to offer "make goods" to advertisters. (Make goods are extra commercial time to make up for commercials that advertisers bought that failed to deliver. Every network promises a base rating for the ads they sell and if the shows fail to garner that rating, the network has to offer more time, or a "Make good" to the advertiser.) It doesn't help that the World Series features two pretty small market teams: Detroit and St. Louis. But Fox may be saved: everyone predicted Detroit would walk all over St. Louis. Instead, they split the first two games, both of which were exciting, well-played and finished in under three hours. Believe me, not having to sit up till one in the morning to see the end of a dull game is very good news for FOX. Kenny Rogers purportedly using pine tar to gain a cheating advantage can't hurt either. So know it looks like they'll go at least six games and the more games, the higher the ratings. So FOX may not suffer a humiliating loss in the ratings as long as St. Louis doesn't suffer a humiliating loss on the field.
As for the entertainment side of things, my friend Sam Dolson -- who came to NYC to see a World Series game, only to watch both the Mets AND the Yankees drop out -- wondered why John Mellencamp would put his new single on a car ad. Well, he hasn't had a Top 40 hit in a decade ("Key West Intermezzo" hit #14 in 96) and a Top 10 hit in 12 years ("Wild Night" hit #3 in '94; the last Top 10 hit before that was back in 1987, almost TWENTY years). In short, he doesn't get played on the radio and he has to do whatever he can to get his music in front of his fans. Hence a car ad, though I'm sure Mellencamp took some comfort in the ad, which includes images of Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr AND the devastation of Katrina, hardly typical car ad fare. (Here's Mellencamp on his new album.) I thought Jennifer Hudson did a good job with "God Bless America" until she screeched trying to hit that final note (that's okay, she can take comfort with an Oscar nomination for "Dreamgirls") while Josh Gracin (also an American Idol) stunned me by doing a decent job last night. Maybe he's been taking voice lessons? And Eminem -- who I really like -- looked like he was a kid performing in front of a mirror by constantly draping his jacket off his shoulders and looking "street." I rarely think he's forced, but that's how he looked to me.