Local station roundup

Let’s see what’s going on in local markets around the country:

-According to Nielsen, KETC-TV in St. Louis was the nation’s highest-rated public TV station in October, even outperforming WTTW in Chicago. The station’s total-day ratings were up 8 percent from a year ago and up 39 percent in primetime.

It’s same to assume that this station outdraws Sinclair’s weak-kneed KDNL-TV, which has been a ratings disaster since it became an ABC affiliate in 1995 in the New World-Fox affiliate deal, which shifted Fox from KDNL to KTVI. The station ended its low-rated newscasts in 2001.

– Fox-owned WFXT has gotten off to a good start with its new 11 p.m. newscast in Boston. Thanks to tons of promotion from the World Series (which the Red Sox won in 4), The new newscast scored with 89,000 viewers on its first night on the air Monday, which grew to 111,000 viewers on Tuesday. It’s 10 p.m. newscast drew 223,000 viewers on the same night. Not bad for a former part-time religious TV station, which was once owned by Pat Roberston (and often drew hash marks for ratings.) It’s signature program at one time was The 700 Club.

– And the network lead-in are determining the race for No. 1 in Houston’s late-night news wars, which has Belo’s CBS affiliate KHOU-TV in a heated race with ABC-owned KTRK-TV. The market has become even more competitive, since Local People Meters were introduced this month.

KTRK traditionally has been Houston’s most-watched station, since at least the 1970’s, but has been challenged in the last 15 years by KHOU, which has been a very strong second in that time frame, and has even knocked off KTRK in a few books.

Meanwhile, Post-Newsweek’s NBC affiliate KPRC-TV lags behind both competitors, and is actually tied with Fox-owned KRIV for third place in households at 10 p.m. KPRC also trailed in key demos. KPRC is at a disadvantage, given NBC’s lead-ins aren’t as strong as the ABC and CBS stations.

Since weak NBC lead-ins are not a factor in many markets (NBC affiliates in Boston, Detroit, Washington, Seattle, Denver, Baltimore, and Milwaukee still win their late news), it is a factor in Houston.

At one time, KPRC was the market’s second-watched station behind KTRK, but fell behind KHOU in the early 1990’s, and with a few exceptions, hasn’t rebounded since. At one time, its’ 5 p.m. newscast not only finished behind its news competitors, but also behind Simpsons reruns and even a Spanish-language newscast (and I thought WBBM-TV’s news operation was bad.)

And this just in: Anna Nicole Smith’s mother (Virgie Arthur) is suing KPRC, Entertainment Tonight, and Howard K. Stern (not the Sirius jock) for libel. The suit alleges that Stern arranged for Smith to appear in an ET interview where the model stated that Ms. Arthur was complicit in Smith’s childhood physical and sexual abuse.

Anna Nicole Smith died on Feb. 8, 2007 at the age of 39 from a accidental drug overdose.

KPRC airs Entertainment Tonight weeknights at 6:30 p.m. ET is syndicated by CBS Television Distribution, which was also named in the suit.

It keeps getting worse for this station. Oy Vey.

updated 9:20 pm on 2007-11-08