KABC-TV won the coveted Los Angeles early evening and late news ratings crown in an abbreviated Nielsen February sweeps book that excludes the two weeks of the Winter Olympics. However, the O&O showed significant year-to-year declines as rival KNBC-TV gained ground.
Third-place KCBS-TV, meanwhile, was down in all early evening newscasts — in both the
Olympic and non-Olympic books — and its 11 p.m. news also showed declines in the two weeks without the Games.
In the four-week average that includes the much-hyped Nancy Kerrigan-Tonya Harding ice capades, KCBS’ 10.1 rating/24share for late news brought the station its first sweeps win since November 1984, when it scored an 8.0 rating.
It’s a hollow victory, however, because KCBS went from first place with the Olympics to third without the Games, and virtually all advertisers make buys off the non-Olympic numbers.
Dave sweeps past Jay
KCBS still had reason to celebrate in latenight as “Late Show With David Letterman” overtook KNBC’s “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” for the first time in a local sweeps period. Letterman, who averaged a 5.2/19 sans Olympics and 5.9 /21 with the Games, bested Leno by 5-7 share points.
In the key 6-8 p.m. entertainment race, a majority of the shows declined.
The few programs showing improvement replaced much weaker fare. The biggest gainers were KCBS’ “Real Stories of the Highway Patrol” (up 3.6/6), KTTV’s “Cops” (up 2.7/5), KTLA’s 7 p.m. edition of “Family Matters” (gaining 2.8/5) and KCBS’ “Love Connection” (jumping 2.2/3).
Among the others gaining in strength were KNBC’s pre-primetime access tandem of “Entertainment Tonight” (up 1.0/1) and “Hard Copy” (up 0.9/1), both of which are headed to KCBS next fall.
The entertainment shows taking the biggest hits were KCAL’s “Inside Edition” (down 2.4/4), KTTV’s “Married … with Children” (off 2.5 points at 7 p.m.) and “A Current Affair” (decreasing 1.7 points).
Still, KTTV’s 6 p.m. run of “Married” was the only entertainment fare in the time period to show any year-to-year improvement, rising 1.5/3.
KABC’s powerhouse access duo of “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune” slipped, losing 1.2/2 and 1.6/2, respectively.
As the number of talkshows mushroomed to 17 in daytime and early fringe alone , KCOP’s “Ricki Lake” emerged as a major force.
The chatshow skyrocketed into second place behind KABC’s “Oprah Winfrey,” with a 5.2 rating in only its second sweeps outing. “Ricki” improved the 5 p.m. slot by 1.2 points over the year-ago time period average.
The biggest gainer among talkshows in the market, however, was KCOP’s “Jenny Jones,” which boosted the 2 p.m. period by 1.6 points. Moreover, the show’s 4.7/ 15 on the indie is a whooping 1.6/5 higher than its performance in the same time period a year ago on KNBC.
In fact, KCOP had the only five talkers to gain more than a rating point over the previous year — the others being “Montel Williams,””Rush Limbaugh” and “Richard Bey.”
The only talkshows to lose at least a full rating point from the February ’93 time period average were KTTV’s “Bertice Berry,” which the station is moving from 10 a.m. to noon, and KCAL’s “Jerry Springer.”
KNBC was helped slightly by a stronger lead-in at 3 p.m. with “Sally Jessy Raphael,” which improved the station’s performance over “Donahue” a year earlier by a healthy 1.1/3.
KNBC was even at 4 p.m., up a hefty 0.9/2 with its heavily promoted 5 p.m. newscast and 0.3/1 higher at 6.
At 11, KNBC rose 0.8/3 over the previous February, while KABC dove a dramatic 2.5/4 in the non-Olympic book.
KABC, whose 3 p.m. lead-in “Oprah” was off about half a point from last year, crashed one rating point at 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. and 1.5 points at 6 p.m. In fact, the only early fringe newscast to show a bigger loss was KCAL-TV’s 6:30 p.m. news, which fell 1.8/2.
KCBS slid 0.6/1 at 5 p.m. — with “Geraldo” at 4 p.m. also down by half a point — and 0.7/1 at 6 p.m.
KABC saw its seven-day primetime average drop nearly 2 points during the Olympics. KNBC fell 1 point.
In fact, the entire O&O landscape changed during the competition. KABC’s news slid from first to last at 11, while KNBC’s late news remained fairly stable in both the two-week and four-week averages.
Of the indies, KTLA took the biggest primetime hit during the Games. The station finished down 1.1/2 from February ’93, while KCAL dropped 0.7/1.
The two indies with younger-appeal series, KTTV and KCOP, were hurt the least (KTTV dropped 0.2 points and KCOP lost half a point).
KTLA continued to lead the 10 p.m. indie news race, although it performed better in the non-Olympic book, remaining flat year-to-year. In the four-week average, however, it dropped 1/1.
KTTV, apparently benefiting from the arrival of former KNBC anchor John Beard , finished up 1/2 without the Olympics and 1/1 with them.
Over at KCAL, the news was not so good forthe second straight measurement period. It lost more than a third of its 10 p.m. audience from the previous February in both the two- and four-week books.
KCOP’s news remained mired in last place.
In the five-way 6 a.m. news contest, leader KABC rose slightly to a 3.6/2, while the once-dominant KNBC dived 0.7/4 to a second-place 3.4/21. KTLA (2.2/14) outdistanced KCBS (1.5/9), which fell about half a point despite the Olympics. KTTV’s early morning entry lingered in last-place with a 0.6/4. The “KTLA Morning News” continued to lead breakfastcast entries, but its year-to-year ratings fell 1.3/3 to 4.8/19.