Nielsen follows suit with cheery news for WNBC

Following the same pattern as the Arbitron book, WNBC’s “News 4 New York” topped WABC’s “Eyewitness News” for the 11 p.m. Nielsen ratings title, thanks to its strong prime time lead-ins.

But, as with Arbitron, Nielsen showed an overall drop in late news viewing compared to May 1992.

“News 4” was again the only Gotham newscast to improve over last May, but it was up only one-tenth of a rating point in Nielsen. (Without night of the last “Cheers,” WNBC also would have dropped.) “Eyewitness” dropped a staggering 21% in Nielsen, while WCBS’ “Channel 2 News at 11” stumbled 10% to 7.7/15.

In the indy news race at 10 p.m., market leader WNYW held steady at 6.7/11, while WPIX dropped 14% to a 4.3/7 and WWOR fell 19% to 2.5/4.

In earlier time periods, there were some sharper differences between Nielsen and Arbitron. WABC still dominates the hour before prime time with veteran powerhouses “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune,” but WNBC’s addition of “Cops” at 7 p.m. outscored its predecessor, “Now It Can Be Told,” by an astounding 43%, catapulting the Peacock affil ahead of WCBS’ “Hard Copy.”

In the indy battle, there was one noticeable difference between the rating services: WNYW’s double run of “Roseanne” was 23% below last year’s “Golden Girls” score, and only 5% above last year’s “Night Court” in Arbitron. But in Nielsen, the first half-hour scored a 7.2/15, up 1% over ’92, while the second half grew by 27% over last year.

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