Tampa-based Monday Night Football broadcast pushes Dancing with the Stars to 1:30 a.m. next week
Local ABC affiliate WFTS-Ch. 28 expects to broadcast next week's Monday Night Football home game featuring the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, pushing another show popular with an entirely different audience, Dancing with the Stars, back to 1:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Monday Night Football usually airs on the cable channel ESPN, but WFTS cut a deal earlier this year to broadcast next week's home game as well. For a time, it looked like the NFL's blackout rules might ruin that plan, barring local broadcasters from airing games which are not sold out at the stadium.
But WFTS general manager Rich Pegram said the show will go on Monday, noting it will be the first time a local TV station broadcast a Buccaneers game live from Raymond James Stadium in 14 contests (last season, attendance was so poor every home game was blacked out). Pegram credited the excitement of Monday Night Football for making the difference with local fans.
"Monday Night Football is an institution, and people respond to that," he said. "Not everybody has ESPN and not everybody has cable. I know some (Dancing) fans may be upset, but I think this game is of greater local interest."
Pegram suggested fans of Dancing with the Stars set their DVRs to record the early morning show or catch the show online at ABC.com the next day. ABC also airs a recap episode of the Monday night show at 8 p.m. Tuesday before the live results program.
WFTS' broadcast also means more local fans can see former Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden, who has found a comfortable niche as an analyst on Monday Night Football. ESPN posted a quick interview with Gruden, who was coaching the team the last time Monday Night Football was in Tampa, back in 2003.
ESPN: What do you remember from the last MNF game when the Bucs played the Colts in Tampa?
Gruden: We got off to a really good start and had a commanding lead. Then I got shot by “The Sheriff.” One of our corners — Brian Kelly — tore his pec muscle and we put a back-up corner in there and [Colts quarterback] Peyton Manning found him a couple of times. They returned a kickoff after one of our touchdowns down to the eight or nine yard line. Next thing I knew it was seven points for the Colts.
"That game was one of Peyton’s finest hours. When you lose a substantial lead like that with the kind of defense we had, that was tough. The house was packed that night, and I think they all went home mad at me.