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Saturday Night Live: NBC to give Rangers-Flyers rare prime-time exposure

Dan Girardi #5, Marc Staal #18, and Mats

Dan Girardi #5, Marc Staal #18, and Mats Zuccarello #36 of the New York Rangers battle Vincent Lecavalier #40, and Zac Rinaldo #36 of the Philadelphia Flyers during their game at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 29, 2014. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Al Bello

The decline in Saturday night's status for broadcast TV networks has been ongoing for four decades now, since the high point of CBS' "All in the Family," "M*A*S*H," Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart, Carol Burnett era.

But every year that goes by, the willingness to sacrifice what used to be prime air time to low-rated fare gets bolder.

Take this weekend. NBC is scheduled to show the Rangers-Flyers game at 8 p.m. Saturday. Not NBCSN -- NBC.

It will be the first prime-time, regular-season, indoor NHL game shown on NBC since the network acquired NHL rights in 2006 -- and might well be the first such game on a broadcast network in American television history.

(If you know of another, please let us know.)

That's good news for hockey fans, but NBC is certain to get a low rating for the night, likely at or slightly above one percent of U.S. homes.

A week from Saturday, NBC will premiere a new series of boxing shows, the sport's first appearance in prime time on the network since 1985.

UPDATE: Thanks to comment poster Stu Dolgon (below) and followers on Twitter, it appears NBC aired three prime-time games in the 1972-73 and '73-74 seasons, most recently Jan. 4, 1974, a Friday night game between the Bruins and Rangers.

New York Sports