KABC leads Arb sweeps

KABC-TV has ridden the ample coattails of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and a stronger-than-usual prime time performance to emerge as the leader of the November Arbitron sweeps with one night to go in the four-week survey.

Tribune-owned KTLA and Fox flagship KTTV, meanwhile, dueled through a close sweep, with KTLA leading in news and from 5-7 p.m. while Fox showed gains both with its 10 p.m. newscast and in late night, where “Cops” should finish in a rounded tie with longtime late night champ “Cheers.”

With “Oprah” up by 2 rating points and 2 share at 4 p.m., and a solid prime time lead, KABC’s news will rank first for all early newscasts and tie KNBC at 11 p.m., with its performance either up or flat compared to November ’91.

Chief rival KNBC-TV, despite the much-ballyhooed addition of anchor Paul Moyer, saw its average drop at 4, 5, 6 and 11 p.m., although the half-point rating decline at 4 will likely be erased when numbers are rounded for sales purposes.

Averages at 11 p.m. showed KABC with a 7.4 rating, 18, holding a slight advantage over KNBC (7.1/17) that could be erased by rounding unless last night’s lead-in from a Barbara Walters special lifts the ABC outlet. KCBS-TV, whose prime time lineup ranked behind KTTV’s 8-10 p.m. block during November, is averaging a 5.1/12.

KCBS-TV continued to run third across-the-board but managed to improve its 6 p.m. news by a rating when rounded and held even vs. ’91 at 5 p.m., despite its collapse from 3-5 p.m. with “Wiseguy” repeats (replacing “The Maury Povich Show” from last year) and “Geraldo,” which lost a rounded 2 ratings and 4 share.

As for the prime-access hour, the loss of “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy” dumped the CBS O&O from a competitive second to last among the market’s seven VHF stations in that hour (“You Bet Your Life” waddled to a 4.0/6), while KABC-TV–the new home for the King World duo–was easily the top-rated station from 7-8 p.m.

KTLA also improved its performance in that hour markedly with the addition of “Murphy Brown” and “Cheers” in place of last year’s “Now it Can Be Told” and “Full House,” while KNBC’s duo of “Entertainment Tonight” and “Hard Copy” both lost a rating vs. last year, as did KTTV’s still-solid combination of “Married … With Children” and “A Current Affair.”

The strength of Fox’s prime time lineup helped shave a rating off both KTLA and KCOP’s 8 p.m. movies, although KCAL-TV’s prime time news block–helped in part, perhaps by the national election–enjoyed minor gains that should result in its average rounding up in all three hours.

Disney-owned KCAL also posted similar gains with its animated “Disney Afternoon” block, as did Fox with its kidvid fare, including a stellar 6.8/14 for “Batman: The Animated Series”–up over the time period last year, and second in the market overall at 5 p.m.

Final Arbitron ratings will be available today, while the Nielsen survey concludes tonight, with results to be published next week.

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