Asking the questions: Why is WFLD struggling at 9 p.m.?

The T Dog Media Blog is “asking the questions”… why is Fox-owned WFLD squandering prime-time lead-ins from its parent network? Maybe they should find some answers.

According to Nielsen and from Lewis Lazare’s column today, WFLD continues to lag behind its competitors in the month of January. Despite changes to the 9 p.m. newscast – notably adding Anna Davlantes as a third anchor – ratings for the news show was down 20 percent from January 2009.

Tribune-owned WGN meanwhile fared no better – they too were down from last year (to the tune of 22 percent), though it did beat its Fox rival in the head-to-head ratings, one of the very few CW affiliates in the country who have 9 or 10 p.m. news to do so.

So why are WGN and WFLD struggling at 9 p.m.? Simple. The newscasts are down in face of tough competition from CBS and ABC’s 9 p.m. programming (except Wednesday for ABC, where it airs the now-canceled Ugly Betty) and from DVR use in the time period.

And don’t forget strong competition from basic cable at 9 p.m. – especially from Comcast SportsNet, where Bulls and Blackhawks games have done very well. Last Friday’s Bulls overtime victory over the New Orleans Hornets scored a 6.7 rating at 9:30 p.m., a record high for a Bulls regular-season game on the channel. (See? I ask the questions and gave you the answers. WFLD only does half their job…)

Meanwhile, ABC-owned WLS-TV dominated the market as usual in all time periods, with CBS-owned WBBM-TV coming in second at 10 p.m., and NBC-owned WMAQ-TV coming in third. On Thursday, WBBM announced it was bringing back Walter Jacobson’s Perspective commentaries on a trial basis during its 10 p.m. newscasts, airing on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can see the first one he did by clicking here.

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2 responses to Asking the questions: Why is WFLD struggling at 9 p.m.?


  1. Anonymous

    What would you think of Chicago doing what the CW affils in St. Louis and Denver are doing — running their local news at 7 p.m. and delaying CW programs (none of which are really appropriate for viewing that early) until 8-10 p.m.? The only thing that would really be lost would be sports coverage…

  2. T Dog

    It's probably not going to happen, given WGN's 9 p.m. newscast is tradition (and according to them, is doing well in the ratings.) Both KWGN in Denver and KPLR in St. Louis are weaker CW affiliates than WGN is.