LeBron’s ‘Decision’ Tops Ratings – Let’s Talk Spin-Off!

by | July 9, 2010 at 10:12 AM | TV News

LeBron James announces his 'Decision' on ESPN special

LeBron James announces his 'Decision' on ESPN special

He shoots, he scores!

Sure, he hogs airtime as much as he hogs the rock, but NBA superstar LeBron James‘ ESPN special – in which he pledged his new professional allegiance – was a slam-dunk with Nielsen families.

LeBron James’ ESPN Special Sets A New Standard…For Something

According to preliminary overnight ratings cited by TVByTheNumbers.com, ESPN’s ‘The Decision’ drew a 7.3 household rating – easily trouncing even broadcast TV’s top-rated offering, a repeat of CBS’ ‘The Mentalist’ (which drew a 6.0). We’ll translate that into millions of viewers as soon as the data is handy, so check back.

Will NBA Great LeBron James’ TV Special Score With Viewers?

But how did LeBron’s ‘Decision’ play in Cleveland? Not so hot, if the images of citizens burning James’ Cavaliers jersey in effigy is any indication.

Yes, in case you had not heard: James chose to join the Miami Heat, which is certain to have ramifications for… well, someone.

Still, ESPN has to be sitting up and taking notice, perhaps asking themselves: How can we milk this further? Can ‘The Decision’ be spun off into a series of high-rated specials? May we suggest:

‘LeBron’s Decision: Choosing a Miami Home’

‘Lebron’s Decision: Boxers Or Briefs?’

‘The Decision: Should We At ESPN Spin Off ‘The Decision’?’

TV Land’s ‘Hot In Cleveland,’ meanwhile, could emerge as the biggest winner here, seeing as James’ defection is sure to gift the just-renewed comedy’s scribes with a new well of jokes from which to draw. For example:

“Yeah, [new boyfriend] will stick around. [Female character sighs] Just like LeBron. [Eyeroll]“

Did you stay tuned for ‘The Decision’? Should that be not only the first but the last instance of a celebrity commandeering the airwaves for so self-serving a purpose? Or do the numbers justify its broadcast?

As New York Magazine so aptly put it, the special “treated the millions of people watching like stupid, mindless consumers, empty lemmings ready to follow Sport into the abyss.”