“Must Watch” Sunday and Monday for WGN-TV

250px-Tribune_BroadcastingTribune Broadcasting scores a hat trick of good ratings Sunday and Monday

Is no-longer-bankrupt Tribune Broadcasting becoming a “must watch” destination?  Chicago’s WGN-TV lit the ratings lamp twice with a Blackhawks game Sunday night and Monday morning news coverage.

Meanwhile, a few Tribune stations outside of Chicago lit the ratings lamp of their own Monday with the premiere of a new limited-run talk show featuring a former ’90’s rapper.

Sunday night’s “Must Watch Game” between the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks and the San Jose Sharks on WGN-TV scored the highest household rating since hockey returned to the Tribune-owned station in 2008. The matchup averaged a 7.8 from 7 to 10 p.m., peaking at 10.2.

Among adults 18-49, the game drew a 4.9, despite facing Fox’s Animation Domination block, whose ratings were inflated due to a NFC Wild Card Playoff (San Fransisco 49ers-Green Bay Packers) lead-in.

Fans packed the United Center Sunday night despite treacherous weather conditions – which also helped TV ratings as the public (or those who didn’t have tickets) largely stayed at home.

The game was also carried nationally by NBC Sports Network, but was blacked out in Chicago market (soccer was shown instead.) Unfortunately, not all the news was good – the Hawks lost to San Jose in a shootout, 3-2.

WGN’s good ratings news continued to roll into Monday morning, as the metro area dealt with cold temperatures not seen in nearly twenty years! Viewers fled into WGN’s entrances for its morning newscasts – dubbed as “Must Watch Morning News” – and finished first in the key 25-54 adult news demo with a 3.3 rating from 5-10 a.m., peaking at a 4.3 in the 9 a.m. hour. In households, WGN averaged a 4.6 rating in the same time frame, peaking at a whopping 6.5 rating in the 7-9 a.m. hour.

Meanwhile, Monday was also a good day for a few Tribune stations outside the Chicago area as they received encouraging results from the debut of Serch, a new talk show beginning a four-week test, a program trying to achieve status as “Must Watch Talk”.

According to B & C, Serch averaged a 1.1 household rating and a 3 share in eight Tribune markets, up 10 percent from the year-ago time period, but down 15 percent from its lead-in. On the other hand, Serch did a 0.6/4 in women 25-54, even from its year-ago time period numbers.

Serch’s best performance came in Indianapolis at noon, where Fox affiliate WXIN averaged a 2.6 household rating, up 24 percent from what Maury earned in the time slot last year. In Serch’s hometown of New York City where it airs at 4 p.m., WPIX earned a 1.5 rating and 4 share, up 25 percent from its lead-in (The Test) and year-ago time period (Maury.) In the female 25-54 demo in the Big Apple, Serch did a 1.1/5, up 60 percent from last year’s time period share and beat Ellen and Dr. Oz in the demo.

Serch was best known as MC Serch (a.k.a. Michael Berrin) – one-half of the early 1990’s Queens-based rap duo 3rd Bass, teamed with Pete Nice (a.k.a Pete Nash), and DJ Richie Rich (Richard Lawson.) The hip-hop duo was known for hits such as Brooklyn Queens and Pop Goes The Weasel – the latter hitting number 29 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart in August 1991. Weasel samples Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer, which hit number one on the same chart in July 1986.

Currently, Serch is tested in six other Tribune markets: Los Angeles (KTLA); Philadelphia (WPHL); Dallas (KDAF); Washington D.C (WDCW)., Miami (WSFL); and San Diego (KSWB). WGN is not participating.

If Serch does well, it would likely replace The Test on Tribune stations this fall, as the freshman talker has not lived up to expectations. So far this season, Test ranks sixteenth out of seventeen talk shows in syndication. Both Test and Serch are handled by CBS Television Distribution in association with Tribune Broadcasting.