NBC stations feel Olympic boost, others hang tough

Mar 4, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Though NBC easily won the prime-time ratings crowns during February sweeps, not all the NBC-owned and affiliated stations won all their news races.
In New York, WNBC-TV was the model NBC station, winning sign-on to sign-off with a 6.5/15 compared with WABC-TV, which had a 4.2/10. WNBC swept all its newscasts except for the 6 p.m. news from Monday through Friday. WABC was No. 1 at 6 p.m. weekdays with a 7.4 Nielsen Media Research rating and 13 share compared with WNBC’s 7.1/13. But WNBC came in first at 6 p.m. for Monday through Sunday with a 7.4/13 compared with WABC’s 6.9/12. WNBC was No. 1 for the first time in more than 20 years during the soap opera time period of 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
In Los Angeles, KNBC-TV also won sign-on to sign-off with a 6.3/16 over KABC-TV’s 4.0/10. KNBC had a 21 percent increase in its 11 p.m. news ratings and 22 percent increase in share from last February with a 9.9/21 for Monday through Friday. KNBC also won in the early morning news race from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. Stations’ investigative pieces included Paul Moyer’s report for KNBC on stores in downtown L.A. that make fake ID’s. KCBS-TV got some attention with reporter Joel Grover’s piece on valets at the fanciest restaurants and clubs in town who steal money from patrons’ cars.
KABC ended up No. 1 in the 11 a.m. news. KABC also won the 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. news races for the eighth consecutive sweeps period. “We didn’t give up the ghost for the February book,” said KABC General Manager Arnold Kleiner. “We introduced Live Doppler 7000 even though it didn’t rain. We went to Afghanistan, the Philippines and Cuba.”
Despite rumors of there being friction between WB affiliate KTLA-TV’s new morning anchor Giselle Fernandez and her co-anchor Carlos Amezcua, the two helped the station win the 7 a.m.-to-9 a.m. time slot over Fox-owned KTTV’s “Good Day L.A.” KTLA won that time slot for the third straight ratings book. But KTTV was celebrating its first book with “Good Day Live,” now in 13 markets, which follows “Good Day L.A.” at 10 a.m. “Good Day Live” scored a 1.5/5, up 50 percent over the double run of “Power of Attorney” that ran in the time slot last February, pulling a 1.0/4. KTTV General Manager David Boylan was pleased that “Good Day Live” beat some other syndicated shows in that period, including “Montel” on KCOP-TV, as well as “Sally Jessy Raphael” and “Judge Mathis.” In Chicago, NBC-owned WMAQ-TV was No. 1 sign-on to sign-off for the first time since 1990 with a 6.5/15, beating powerhouse ABC-owned WLS-TV, which had a 5.9/13. WMAQ also won the 10 p.m. news race for the first time in many years with a 12.8/21, while WLS had a 12.3/19. But WLS was still No. 1 in the early morning, 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. news.
In San Francisco, NBC’s grass-roots efforts to get viewers to tune to the new NBC affiliate KNTV paid off. NBC had the hottest party in town at the Embarcadero, with food and more than 30 television screens, so that those who couldn’t get reception could watch opening ceremonies of the Olympics. KNTV scored the highest audience share in the top 10 markets for the Olympics. KNTV pulled a 21.5/35 for the 17 days of the Winter Games.
In Boston, ABC affiliate WCVB-TV ended up winning the 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. news races and tied with NBC affiliate WHDH-TV in the early morning race. WCVB executives were pleasantly surprised the two-hour morning news race was tied and WHDH didn’t win that hands down. “With the heightened impact of the Olympics, it’s amazing audiences wouldn’t just stay on NBC all day,” said WCVB-TV Programming Director Liz Cheng. “The last thing people watch is the Olympics, and you would think they would stay on that channel.”
WHDH did win sign-on to sign-off with a 7.0/18, and it won the late news.