“Chi-Town Rising” pulls ratings victory upset

Chicago rings in the New Year.

NBC 5’s upstart effort unseats ABC 7’s annual show

In news no one saw coming, NBC-owned WMAQ’s freshman New Year’s Eve show beat ABC-owned WLS-TV’s in live plus-same day ratings, according to Nielsen and first reported by Robert Feder.

In the quarter half-hour before the New Year began, Chi-Town Rising on WMAQ scored a 17. 1/36 household rating/share, beating WLS’ Countdown Chicago 2016, which earned a 14.2/30. In all, Chi-Town did what was it supposed to do and then some: put a dent in ABC7’s rating for Countdown Chicago.

Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve With Ryan Seacrest didn’t score the type of numbers the local shows did, but still put up good numbers. From 10:30 to 12:15 a.m., the countdown drew a 10.0/24 in households, down from 10.7/25 a year ago.

But the big winner was local TV – nearly one million households tuned in at midnight. The huge number illustrates the power local over-the-air broadcast television still has in our society.

Mario and Courtney Lopez hosted for WMAQ; WLS had Mark Giangreco and Janet Davies.

Both specials were also huge hits on social media – but not in the way you’d expect. The Twitterverse was slamming both shows – especially Chi-Town, complaining about the name (no one says “Chi-Town” in Chicago); the poor production quality; the vanillaness of the hosts; and numerous technical glitches. The crowd however, seemed more sedate than the chaotic 1980 gathering at State and Randolph.

Even the countdown clock on the star on the Hyatt Hotel was behind, hitting midnight a few seconds after the fact.

Meanwhile, a few posted a rather interesting screenshot of Giangreco and Davies.

And yes, even Jim Belushi managed to show up…on Countdown Chicago playing a harmonica (revenge on Chi-Town Rising for not getting the hosting gig?)

National New Year Eve shows didn’t go unscathed, either. On CNN, Kathy Griffin was in lingerie (yowza) and Don Lemon appeared to show up drunk. ABC’s annual New Year’s show had Jenny McCarthy acting like an ass, as usual.

Wait a minute… Jim Belushi and Jenny McCarthy on the same channel? On the same night? Ladies and gentlemen, we achieved the most impossible of dreams.

And the less said about Ryan Seacrest,  the better.

The musical acts saved the local shows from being total Titanics. The band Chicago performed on Chi-Town while Chance the Rapper lit it up on Countdown. But the World Premiere of a musical number of Gotta Dance on Countdown seemed out of place. And didn’t a Lockport homeowner getting a “surprise” New Year’s Eve party seem a little staged?

But it’s nice to know there is a place to where the overused terms “The Golden Age of TV” and “Peak TV” do not apply: New Year’s Eve TV.

(Updated at 2016-01-04 at 1:53 p.m.; corrected information in second and fourth paragraphs.)