'Bronx' burned by homers; 2.2 mil tune in


NEW YORK -- A longer-than-normal home run derby live from San Francisco delayed by more than an hour the debut of ESPN's much-anticipated miniseries "The Bronx Is Burning."

The first episode of the miniseries focusing on the 1977 New York Yankees and starring John Turturro and Oliver Platt was supposed to get started at 10 p.m. EDT. But it didn't start until 11:05 p.m. EDT thanks to the home run derby that eventually was won by the Angels' Vladimir Guerrero.

"Bronx" averaged 2.2 million viewers, according to data released late Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research. That was comparable with a previous ESPN miniseries, "Tilt," that averaged 2 million viewers in January 2005. But it was below the Aug. 26, 2003, debut of the controversial football series "Playmakers," which averaged 2.6 million viewers.

Even before the big delay, ESPN planned to replay the first episode of "Bronx" at 10 p.m. Wednesday and again two hours later on ESPN. It also will air at 10 p.m. Tuesdays going forward and re-air at midnight following "SportsCenter."

Meanwhile, Tuesday's home run derby averaged 6.8 million viewers from 8-11 p.m., just about even with last year's 6.8 million viewers. It was ESPN's highest-rated and most-viewed program so far this year, a record that will no doubt fall later this year with ESPN's "Monday Night Football." It also was the most-watched ad-supported cable program Monday night as well as topping broadcast and cable in key male demos.