Media: Series ratings soar for Versus

Average for Game 4 at 27.1 in Pittsburgh

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The Penguins not only blew away the Carolina Hurricanes in four games in the Eastern Conference final, they shattered their ratings record for a telecast again.

The Penguins' 4-1 victory in Game 4 Tuesday night on Versus registered a 27.1 average rating in Pittsburgh, according to Nielsen Media Research, compared with a 4.8 in Raleigh, N.C.

"It's a huge number," Versus spokesman Meier Raivich said yesterday.

The 27.1 rating topped the previous high of 24.97, which FSN Pittsburgh recorded for Game 7 of the Penguins' second-round playoff series against the Washington Capitals. That was the most-watched NHL game for any FSN regional sports network.

Overall, the Penguins' four-game sweep of Carolina averaged a 21.7 rating in Pittsburgh compared with a 6.2 in Raleigh. Nationally, the series averaged a 1.3 rating for the first three games -- the Game 4 numbers won't be available until today -- and attracted more than 1.5 million viewers per game.

On the other hand, the first two games of the Chicago-Detroit series on Versus averaged a 1.6 rating and attracted slightly less than 1.7 million viewers.

Versus will carry Games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup final; NBC will show the remaining games.

The first two games of last year's Stanley Cup final on Versus averaged a 20.2 rating in the Pittsburgh market.

Colony fired

Jim Colony, a drive-time morning sports announcer and general assignment reporter for ESPN Radio (1250-AM), was terminated yesterday, along with two front office employees who are not on the air.

Colony, 53, was in his second tour of duty with the radio station. He worked there a total of 15 1/2 years. He was employed by the station from 1991-97 before being rehired in 2000.

"I have a lot of respect for Jim, but unfortunately, it was a business decision," said Mike Thompson, president and general manager of ESPN Radio. "His job has been eliminated."

Thompson said Colony was still under contract, but he declined to say when his deal expired or if he has a non-compete, citing a confidentiality agreement between the two sides. Colony also declined comment.

Thompson said he's not sure who will assume Colony's day-to-day responsibilities.

"We're still talking about that," Thompson said. "We have some great people who can take over that role."

Ron Musselman can be reached at .


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