Baseball game viewing figures out of the park

By Yi Hui-tzu and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with Staff writer

Sat, Mar 09, 2013 - Page 3

With viewer ratings for the World Baseball Classic game between Taiwan and South Korea on Tuesday breaking 12.17 percent — the highest of all TV programs since 2003 — it is evident that heart-stirring shows, either the sort that gets the blood pumping or tearjerkers, are the nation’s preferred form of TV entertainment.

According to television companies, about 7 million people nationwide watched a live relay of the game on the VL Sports channel on Tuesday, giving it the highest viewer figures since 2003, while roughly 2.2 million viewers watched the game live on Public Television Service.

The broadcast started at 7:30pm and eclipsed the primetime TV dramas that were airing at the same time.

Viewing figures for the Feng Shui Family (風水世家), produced by Formosa Television — which usually enjoys a 6 percent viewing share — plummeted to 4.82 percent, second spot in the ranking, the companies said.

Tuesday’s high ratings trumped the 2010 TV series Rookies’ Diary’s (新兵日記) viewing figures of 11.74 percent and the 2003 TV series Taiwan Thunderbolt Fire’s (台灣霹靂火) 11.43 percent, the TV companies added.

Television dramas were not the only thing the game disrupted, as singers and other celebrities also found themselves distracted by a desire to be in front of a television supporting the Taiwanese team.

Taiwanese band Champion’s (強辯樂團) lead singer, Huang Shao-ku (黃少谷), also known as Yellow Cow, was at the game rather than watching it on TV.

“It was very exciting to be there,” Huang said. “I even saw a foreigner in a shirt emblazoned with the Republic of China flag shouting: ‘Tawan, go, go, go!’”

Hoklo pop diva Jody Chiang (江蕙) was scheduled for a recording session on Tuesday, but received a Facebook post from her producer, Chen Tzu-hung (陳子鴻), saying: “Hey, can you make the recording by yourself? I want to watch the baseball game!”

Chiang replied to the post: “Don’t mind the recording! Go, team Taiwan!”

Meanwhile, VL Sports anchor Hsu Chan-yuan (徐展元) — who is known for his excitable and boisterous commentary — became the talk of the day with his coverage of Tuesday’s game, during which he wept and repeatedly said: “Oh, how I want to see us beat South Korea.”

While some enjoyed Hsu’s style, others found him too raucous.

Renowned writer Chang Ta-chun (張大春) posted a sarcastic remark on Facebook implying that Hsu had gone overboard in terms of theatrics.

In response, Hsu on Thursday posted on his Facebook profile extending thanks to the members of the audience who supported him, adding that he respected comments from everyone.

Additional reporting by Chen Hui-ling, Wu Chi-wei and Huang Chen-yin