T Dog’s Grab Bag: WLS-TV widens lead over rivals

Grab baggin’:

– ABC-owned WLS-TV widened its lead over its competitors during the just-completed May sweeps, according to Nielsen. According to CRM, ABC 7 swept all local news time periods in households (25-54 demos weren’t available at press time), with a decisive victory at 10 p.m., surging 11 percent from May 2012 with a 10.0/18, leaving NBC-owned WMAQ-TV (5.9/11, +4% from last year) and CBS-owned WBBM-TV (4.8/9, -16%) in the dust. Both WGN-TV (4.5/7, +13%) and Fox’s WFLD-TV (2.8/5, +12%) saw ratings increases for their 9 p.m. newscasts, further eating away at the Big Three’s costly dramas. It seems Chicago viewers are more interested in real-life drama than those created by Hollywood writers (anyone watched Revolution lately? Yeesh.) Just more proof of local news’ staying power in the Windy City (especially at ABC 7), despite declining prime-time ratings and defections to other platforms for entertainment.

WLS was not the only ABC station dominating the ratings: fellow ABC O&O KABC-TV also swept all local news time periods in Los Angeles among households, total viewers, and 25-54s, with KCAL winning at 10 p.m (KCAL tied Fox O&O KTTV in 25-54s.)  Milwaukee’s WISN-TV did likewise (except at 6 a.m. when Fox affiliate WITI won), beating rival NBC affiliate WTMJ in most local news time slots. Click on the city to see May sweeps results for Dallas, Houston, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati , Memphis, and Buffalo.

In Chicago, one ratings point equals 35,000 households.

– The Blackhawks were down in their playoff series against Detroit, but not in the ratings: Saturday night’s Game 5 between the two archrivals drew 2.95 million viewers and a 1.1/4 in adults 18-49, both highs for the night. In Chicago, the game drew an 11.4 household rating for WMAQ, but drew a 14.7 rating in Detroit for WDIV, despite a simulcast airing on the nearby Windsor CBC station (the old CKLW-TV/Channel 9, now CBET.)

Game 6 of the Blackhawks-Wings series aired Monday night and faced off against The Voice and The Bachelorette, but also a Cubs-White Sox interleague matchup. Thanks to a Blackhawks victory on Monday, Game 7 is scheduled for tonight.

– The wizard is staying put at Fox 32: WFLD-TV has renewed Sony’s Dr. Oz for three more seasons, through September 2017. The WFLD renewal is part of a larger thirteen-market Fox O&O deal, which brings new cities in the fold, including Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Orlando, and newly-purchased Charlotte duopoly. In the latter two markets, Oz moves from Cox’s ABC affiliates in 2014 (WFTV and WSOC, respectively), both air the show at 4 p.m. Meanwhile, Belo loses the show in Dallas (WFAA) and Phoenix (KTVK) markets in 2014, while in Los Angeles, Oz returns to KTTV this fall after two seasons at KABC (KTTV aired Oz from 2009-11.) No word on a replacement for Oz at KABC, which leaves the 2 p.m. weekday slot vacant.

One interesting aspect of this Fox deal is it does not include Oz incumbent WAGA-TV in Atlanta, which is dropping the show due to low ratings at the end of the contract. No replacement affiliate has been announced.

-End of an era: Mike Darnell has exited as chief of Fox’s “alternative programming” department (i.e. reality) after twelve years on Friday. Darnell was responsible for bringing reality hits American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, Hell’s Kitchen, MasterChef, and The X Factor to the network (not to mention Temptation Island, The Littlest Groom, Anchorwoman, and the ever-infamous Who Wants To Marry A Multi-Millionaire.) It appears the Idol debacle had nothing to do with Darnell’s departure as Fox offered him a contract extension, which Darnell politely declined. Fox plans to announce a replacement soon.