WBBM-TV 10 p.m. news soars in the ratings

Leno hampering NBC affiliates’ late news; other November “sweeps” notes

ABC-owned WLS-TV dominated the ratings in households and key demos in the just concluded November “sweeps” period (do we still have those in this LPM era?) but it was the two other network O&Os who made headlines.

NBC-owned WMAQ-TV slipped to third place in households at 10 p.m., behind a surging WBBM-TV, which finished second at 10 p.m.

Under anchor Rob Johnson and an improved news product, the CBS-owned station was up 40 percent from November 2008’s numbers. Fueling the rise was the one-night only reunion of former anchors Bill Kurtis and Walter Jacobson, who drew a 7.3 HH (household) rating on November 13.

Thanks to The Jay Leno Show as its lead-in, WMAQ’s 10 p.m. newscast was down  from year-ago time period averages.

In the 9 p.m. news race, WGN-TV beat Fox’s WFLD, but both finished the month with less-than-impressive numbers. Both stations were down from last year- WGN down 27 percent; WFLD down 8 percent. Booth stations appear to be hurt by the high number of DVR usage in the time period, which is also affecting Leno’s show.

Overall, this was a pretty weak survey for late news in Chicago, with everyone except WBBM down from last year. 

Meanwhile, “The Leno effect” is hurting NBC stations coast-to-coast: A brief synopsis of Novemeber late-fringe news races from across the country:


Philadelphia: Similar to Chicago: ABC’s WPVI sweeps the competition. Again. But CBS-owned KYW-TV shows gains while NBC’s WCAU-TV takes it on the chin.

Thought: On a side note, the linked article in this story is the worst I’ve ever read regarding ratings. We don’t need a history lesson regarding WPVI and KYW (who the writer is overly biased toward), and not once the writer mentioned Jay Leno as one of the main reasons WCAU is faltering in late news. This “journalist” even makes Lewis Lazare look good. Oh, Ellen Gray and Gail Schister, where are you?


Dallas-Fort Worth: CBS-owned KTVT wins at 10 p.m., besting Belo’s ABC affiliate WFAA in HH – but not in 25-54s, where WFAA rules. NBC-owned KXAS finishes a distant third at 10 p.m. in households, but finished second at 5 and 6 p.m.

Fox-owned KDFW finished second in the 25-54 demo in most other time periods, and finished first at 5 p.m. At 9 p.m., it beat Tribune’s KDAF-TV head-to-head in households and 25-54 and both outdrew the 7-to-9 p.m. newscasts on indie KTXA in both categories.

Click here and here for more info.

Thought: WFAA is the weakest of ABC affiliates and O&Os in the nation’s ten largest markets and this book proves it. (Dallas-Fort Worth is #5.)

Boston: Hearst’s WCVB (ABC) wins at 11 p.m., with CBS-owned WBZ taking second. WHDH (thanks to Leno) finishes third in HH and 25-54’s. Fox’s WFXT wins at 10 among 25-54s.

Pittsburgh: No sweeping changes, with CBS-owned KDKA finishing first in the Steel City in all news time slots (except at 5 and 6 a.m.) in HH and 25-54’s. Hearst’s WTAE (ABC) generally finished second in households and demos.

But the station that really took it on the chin was Cox’s NBC affiliate, WPXI. Not only the station was off a full rating point in the 25-54 demo at 11 p.m. (thank you Leno), but in the same demo, its 6 p.m. newscast was tied with reruns of Two And A Half Men on Fox affiliate WPGH for third place, while My Name Is Earl reruns on the same channel beat NBC Nightly News at 6:30 p.m. Wait a minute… you mean Everybody Loves to Friend Around With Earl is beating Brian Williams? What is going on?


Orlando: Similar results to Chicago: Cox’s ABC affiliate (WFTV) dominates news among 25-54 ahead of WESH (NBC) and WKMG (CBS) – but its WKMG gaining viewers at 11 p.m., finishing second.WESH. In a major upset, indie WRDQ-TV’s newscasts (WFTV’s sister station) beat Fox-owned WOFL in 25-54s at 10 p.m.weeknights.

The following metered markets’ ratings are measured by household only.

Milwaukee: Leno claims another victim: Journal Communications’ WTMJ slipped into second-place at 10 p.m., behind Hearst’s WISN-TV (ABC), which finished first. CBS affiliate WDJT-TV (owned by Chicago-based Weigel Broadcasting) came in third at 10, up from last year, with Fox affiliate WITI bringing up the rear.

Providence: In a stunning upset, CBS affiliate WPRI beat NBC affiliate WJAR in 11 p.m. news in households for the first time in 16 years. WJAR is usually the most dominant station in the Providence-New Bedford market, and has been for the last 50 years. And once again, you can thank Jay Leno for WJAR’s loss.

WPRI was up 20 percent at 11, WJAR plunged 35 percent in the same time period. WJAR still won most other locally programmed time periods, including news.

Longtime laggard WLNE-TV (ABC) finished third at 11 p.m. and most other locally programmed time periods, but ratings at 11 were up 27 percent from last year.

Buffalo: And here, Leno’s effect was felt  here too: NBC affiliate WGRZ-TV slipped to third place in households at 11 p.m., with ABC affiliate WKBW-TV taking second at 11 for the first time in eight years (WGRZ did win at 6 a.m. with its morning newscast.)

CBS affiliate WIVB-TV swept the market’s news races (except at 6 a.m.), placing first.

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