T Dog’s Grab Bag: ABC stations take late news crown in Chicago, L.A. and Dallas

ABC 7Also: WGN-TV to launch 4 p.m. newscast this fall; cooking Brisket on TV – for 13 straight hours

[Editor’s Note: It has come to my attention that some of the Chicago demo numbers – notably for WFLD and WGN at 9 p.m. – are incorrect. All info from the source has been removed and the post has been rewritten. I apologize for the errors. -T.H.]

ABC’s Los Angeles and Chicago stations delivered in the goods in the just-concluded May 2014 sweeps, beating their NBC counterparts while the reverse was true in Dallas.

Both KABC in Los Angeles and WLS here in Chicago swept every local news time period in households and total viewers, while WGN-TV’s morning show won in the adults 25-54 demo.

KABC and WLS dominated in key early fringe, prime access (6 p.m. for WLS), and late news time periods, as they have done for years.

On the other hand, Dallas ABC affiliate WFAA – the first book under Gannett ownership – won at 10 p.m. in 25-54, but struggled in other news time periods, finishing as low as third in the 25-54 demo at 5 p.m.

WGN once again beat WFLD in households in the 9 p.m. news race but, ratings dropped a full point compared to February. Fox-owned KDFW in Dallas continued its success at 5 and 6 a.m., winning in 25-54 and total viewers, while also winning in the key demo at 5 p.m. As for Fox’s KTTV – the L.A. station’s newscasts could not compete in the mornings or in early fringe (5 p.m.)

KXAS increased its viewership.

While its sister stations in L.A. and Chicago collapsed in the ratings post-Sochi Olympics, NBC-owned KXAS in Dallas kept its momentum, increasing its audience in every news time slot in total viewers and in the 25-54 demo (with the exception at 5 p.m.). On the other hand, Chicago’s WMAQ dropped like a stone, finishing a distant second at 10 p.m. in households and third in 25-54. The news was worse for KNBC in Los Angeles, which finished no better than third at 5 a.m. and no better than fourth at 6 a.m. KNBC also finished third at 11 p.m. Remember when KNBC was on top of the L.A. news game?

It was a tough ratings period for the CBS-owned stations in the three markets, with WBBM-TV in Chicago dropping a full point in households at 10 p.m. from both May 2013 and February 2014 and finishing last in morning news again. KCBS-TV in Los Angeles and KTVT in Dallas also finished behind its competition in their respective markets, though KTVT did finish second in total viewers in some news time slots.

However, CBS-owned independent KCAL did win the 10 p.m. news race in Los Angeles, ahead of a strong KTLA and a stumbling KTTV. And Dallas’ KTVT won in prime access with Wheel of Fortune, but KXAS’ Extra finished first in 25-54.

Tribune Broadcasting’s KTLA and WGN had great success with their morning newscasts, with WGN scoring a ratings victory from 4-10 a.m. in the 25-54 demo and tying WLS in the same demo from 4-6 a.m. (WLS did win in households from 5-7 a.m.)

Finally, local Dallas show The Broadcast made national headlines as one of the hosts of The View rip-off walked off the set after making a big stink about a rookie NFL player kissing his boyfriend on ESPN after he was selected by the St. Louis Rams at the NFL Draft. So did the controversy give the hash-marked show any viewers?

In May, The Broadcast drew a 0.0 rating for independent KTXD and attracted a whopping 71 viewers from 9 to 11 a.m.

Finally, a show Mancow can beat in the ratings.

(Ratings information provided by RobertFeder.com, Franklin Avenue, and UncleBarky.com. Thank you to all involved. Ratings for New York and Philadelphia were not available at press time.)

WGN-TV is expanding its news – again. This time, its adding a 4 p.m. newscast beginning in September, replacing an hour of off-network sitcom The Middle, which would either be likely shifted to late-night or moved to another Chicago TV station.

WGN would be challenging WLS, which has had a 4 p.m. newscast for 30 years. During that time, WLS has been seriously challenged only once (in 1993) when WBBM tied WLS in the ratings at 4 p.m. with the original version of The People’s Court, which lead into its then-4:30 p.m. news show.

WLS is currently the only station in Chicago airing news at 4 p.m. WGN produces more than 50 hours of news per week, more than any other Chicago station.

WGN already has news at 5 and 5:30 p.m., but ratings have been mixed. Regardless of how the 4 p.m. news does in the ratings, you can bet this decision is related to the expected windfall Chicago stations are expected to receive this fall in the midterm elections, which includes the most hotly contested Governor’s race seen in Illinois in years – not to mention the 2016 elections. Candidates are more likely to buy time on a newscast than any other form of programming.

No word on who would anchor the newscast, but Mark Suppelsa is a leading candidate as a co-anchor.

 Remember those jokes about someone would rather watch paint dry than to watch (such and such) TV show?

Well, how about watching a whole brisket being cooked for thirteen straight hours?

13 hours of smokin' fun.
13 hours of smokin’ fun.

Arby’s (who has been busy closing restaurants in the Chicago area for the last several years) produced the world’s longest infomercial to promote the new sandwich. But the show didn’t air on The Food Network or The Cooking Channel. Instead, the infomercial – meant to break a Guinness World Record for longest commercial ever – aired on a Duluth TV station.

Yes, Duluth.

The Arby’s infomercial had aired on a digital subchannel of NBC affiliate KBJR-TV in Duluth, “My 9”, obviously a My Network TV affiliate. aired the infomercial showing nothing but a brisket being smoked in an oven from 1 p.m. May 24 to 2 a.m. May 25. The station even got some calls about the stunt, according to Broadcasting & Cable. 

And according to ratings information I just received, believe it or not, the brisket infomercial drew more viewers than KTXD’s The Broadcast.

Well, it would have.