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Ratings are in for Big Cat and PFT's first "Barstool Van Talk" show on ESPN2.

By Jimmy Traina
October 19, 2017

1. So after much controversy, Barstool Van Talk debuted Tuesday night/Wednesday morning on ESPN2 and the the episode drew 88,000 viewers. As with all ratings, this can be spun into many different directions. Here's what my good buddy and SI media critic, Richard Deitsch, had to say about the rating.

Of course, those who want to push a false narrative that ESPN is a failing network or who are offended by Barstool's content will just say that's a low number. I'm here to offer a little perspective on the overall picture.

Personally, when you look at time slot, demographics and cost, I don't see how anyone can say that's anything but a good number based on a few things. For example, I have no idea what Big Cat and PFT are making from ESPN, but I'd bet any amount of money they aren't making millions like Colin Cowherd and Jason Whitlock, who host a daily afternoon show on FS1. According to this, that show at it's peak gets about 95,000 viewers. So if you can get 88,000 viewers at 1 a.m. while not spending millions on the hosts, you're winning. Hell, Skip Bayless makes $6 million a year and his show, which airs in the morning, has many days where it doesn't even reach 150,000 viewers.

The other factor in this, which Deitsch pointed out, is the demographics. You may not like to hear this, and I don't like to hear this because I'm an old man at this point, but the truth of the matter is television networks really don't care about you in any way, shape or form if you're over the age of 49. It's not surprising that the Pardon My Take content would appeal to the demo wheelhouse of 18-49. Believe me, that's all ESPN is interested in.

More importantly, as I said last week, this is more of a digital play than a TV play for ESPN. You can bet the house that when the online viewership numbers come in, ESPN will tout them and they will be impressive. So even if you're spinning the 88,000 number in a good way or a bad way, it still doesn't tell the whole picture. When you add in the Web numbers to the 88,000, I don't know how anyone, from strictly a business standpoint, can say the Barstool-ESPN partnership didn't pay off for both companies in Week 1.

2. You really have to admire how people have such a one-track mind no matter the situation. Every morning, the SI.com staff receives a report about what sports trends are being most searched on Google. Naturally, on Thursday morning there was a lot of search activity for Eagles defensive end Chris Long, who announced on Wednesday that he was donating his entire 2017 salary to various charitable organizations. Here were the top four search items for Chris Long:

• "Chris Long foundation"
• "
Chris Long net worth 2017"
• "
Chris Long salary 2017"
• "
Chris Long shirtless​"

"Chris Long shirtless?" The man announces that he's giving millions of dollars to increase educational equality and tons of people fire up Google.com to see the guy in the buff? Are we all just savages? Is nothing sacred? (On a side note, I did search SI's photo database for a shirtless Chris Long picture so I could capitalize on that Google search traffic, but came up with nothing. Sorry.)

3. Great tweet from someone who has missed so much playing time in his career.

Speaking of Embiid, only someone very immature would post this clip, so I'm just going to leave it here.

4. I meant to feature this in yesterday's Traina Thoughts, but forgot. Can we please give Ken Rosenthal credit for being a good sport about his height?

5. Chris "Mad Dog" Russo had a rant for the ages on the MLB Network yesterday.

6. Mike Tyson says that when Mike Tyson's Punch Out came out 30 years ago, he wasn't a fan of the game.

7. Howard Stern was a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night. I was lucky enough to be there and his comments on Harvey Weinstein absolutlely killed.

 

8. Speaking of Jimmy Kimmel, this week's episode of "Off The Board," features separate interviews with him and Erin Andrews. Andrews talks about everything from getting botox to why she refuses to talk about politics to what it was like to have Larry David at her wedding. Kimmel weighs in on why football in L.A. is a disaster, explains why he wouldn't have O.J. Simpson on his show and amuses me with some Howard Stern talk. You can listen to the podcast below or download it on iTunesSoundCloud and Stitcher.

The best of the Internet, plus musings by SI.com writer, Jimmy Traina. Get the link to a new Traina's Thoughts each day by following on Twitter and liking on Facebook. Catch up on previous editions of Traina Thoughts. And check Jimmy Traina's weekly podcast, "Off The Board," on iTunes, SoundCloud and Stitcher.

BONUS ITEM: I like the over 46.5 in tonight's Chiefs-Raiders game.

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