Local ratings box: WLS-TV returns to dominance at 10

– WLS-TV returns to the top of the late news heap

American Idol continues to slide

With the Olympics over and done with, normal viewing patterns have resumed – good news for ABC-owned WLS-TV, which saw its 10 p.m. news dominance temporarily usurped by NBC-owned WMAQ.

In March, WLS returned to the top spot at 10 with a 9.0 household rating, ahead of WMAQ’s 6.7, falling into second place. WMAQ can take solace in the fact that lead-out The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon is Chicago’s top-rated late-night talk show, beating Jimmy Kimmel.

Coming in an impressive third (in late news) was WGN’s 9 p.m. newscast with a 5.1 household rating, ahead of CBS-owned WBBM-TV’s 4.3 at 10 p.m. and beat WFLD-TV’s newscast head to head (2.6).

Last week, Robert Feder reported WFLD hired a new assistant news director: Jill Manuel from Scripps’ ABC affiliate WEWS in Cleveland. She previously had a stint at CLTV as news director from 2005-08.

Also at 9 p.m. – On Thursday nights – is CNN’s Chicagoland, the much-talked about docuseries produced by Robert Redford and Marc Levin. Chicagoland continues to lose steam locally, earning a series-low 1.5 household rating for its most recent airing, down 6 percent from the previous week. The fourth episode wasn’t as critically acclaimed as the first three, as Rick Kogan of the Chicago Tribune criticized it for its lack of balance when it came to Mayor Rahm Emanuel (in other words, there wasn’t enough criticism.)

Yours truly has only watched the first two eps of Chicagoland thus far, with the next two on DVR. Unfortunately, Chicagoland isn’t exactly must-watch-right-now TV.

Nationally, NBC, ABC, and Fox are battling to stay out of fourth place in the post-Sochi era. Despite TV Guide declaring that new judge Harry Connick Jr. “saving” American Idol, Thursday night’s edition posted a series-low 1.9 adult 18-49 – once unthinkable. Idol is the only music-competition show left on Fox, following The X Factor’s cancellation earlier this year.

Speaking of cancellations, ABC earlier canceled Mind Games and Once Upon A Time: Wonderland.

The local ratings news were first reported Friday by Lewis Lazare of Chicago Business Journal.