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FOX LICKING ITS CHOPS

Powered by its still-potent 1-2 punch of “The Simpsons” and “Home Improvement” and Fox’s locally dominant primetime lineup, KTTV ruled all the key advertising groups in prime access and prime in the just-released Nielsen demographic ratings survey of the Los Angeles market during the November sweeps (Oct. 31-Nov. 27).

It was in fact a historic performance for KTTV: the Fox-owned station outperformed ABC, NBC and CBS locally in adults 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54 in total prime (Monday-Sunday, excluding its 10 p.m. newscast) for the first time. And it wasn’t even close.

KTTV’s win found it snaring a 9.8 in adults 18-34 to KNBC’s 6.0, KABC’s 5.1 and KCBS’ 2.2. The 18-49 count was 8.5 for KTTV, 6.6 for KNBC, 5.8 for KABC and 4.3 for KCBS. In 25-54, it was closer, with KTTV at 8.1, KNBC 7.5, KABC 6.5 and KCBS 4.3. The station also easily knocked off indie competitors KCAL, KTLA, KCOP and Spanish-language KMEX by a wide margin in all the key demos.

A runaway

With that sort of primetime performance, it was a cakewalk to victory in the 10 p.m. news race for KTTV. The station’s news improved 54% in adults 18-49 year-to-year with a 4.3, almost doubling KTLA’s 2.2 (which was up from a 2.0 in November ’95) and greatly increased its lead over KTLA in adults 18-34 (5.6 to 1.9) and 25-54 (3.5 to 2.5).

KTTV’s early fringe and prime access dominance on weekdays also increased in November over a year ago.

While the “Married … With Children” and “Cops” combo had mixed success at 6 and 6:30 p.m. across the demo board in ’95, the double-run strategy that tosses the first of two “Home Improvement” and “The Simpsons” episodes into the hour proved much more successful.

“Home Improvement” gave KTTV year-to-year gains at 6 p.m. of half a rating point (3.4 to 3.9) among adults 18-34, .9 (3.1 to 4.0) with those 18-49 and 1.2 points (2.7 to 3.9) with those 25-54, with only KMEX’s “Noticias 34” Spanish newscast beating it among women and no station coming close among men in the prime demos.

“The Simpsons” did even better at 6:30 p.m., nearly doubling the “Cops” 18-34 adult numbers in the timeslot from November ’95 and ranking No. 1 with both sexes in all three prime demos.

Both shows also dominated at 7 and 7:30 p.m., with “Improvement” rising in all three major demos of both sexes year-to-year in stuffing the competition, while “The Simpsons” slipped with women in all three demo groups but soared in men 18-34 (rising more than 2 points, to 9.9 from 7.6 last November).

The rest of the story

As for the rest of the story, KNBC rode a ratings tidal wave called “Rosie O’Donnell” to dramatic increases in women 18-49 and 25-54, thanks to a 300% increase in those two demos year-to-year in the 3 p.m. timeslot, which tied “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in women 18-49 while doubling its adult 18-49 and 25-54 numbers at 3 p.m.

That “Rosie” juggernaut enabled KNBC to greatly improve its 4 p.m. news position significantly, helping it pull to a tie with KABC for first in adults and men 18-49 and in adults 25-54, while taking first in men 25-54.

However, KABC’s “Eyewitness News” recovered at 5 p.m., remaining flat year-to-year with adults 18-49 (2.8) and rising slightly in adults 25-54 (from 3.4 to 3.5) to nose out the “Channel 4 News” in adults 18-49 and 25-54 and women 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54.

It’s also noteworthy that KCOP’s “Ricki Lake,” which even as recently as November 1995 was dominating in young adults and in women 18-34 and 18-49, has gone splat. It lost the 5 p.m. race in 18-34 adults to “Saved by the Bell” reruns on KTLA (2.6-2.4) and, with women 18-34, by “Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper” reruns on KTTV (3.6-3.5).

Last year, “Ricki” was more than 2 full rating points better than anything with women 18-34.

At 6 p.m. meanwhile, KNBC knocks off KABC and KCBS’ “Action News” in adults and men across the demo board, with KABC clinging to narrow leads in women 18-49 and 25-54. And while KMEX’s “Noticias 34” knocked off its English-languge competition with men and women in all the key demos, it slipped 25% in men 18-49 and 20% in women 18-49 from November a year ago.

ABC’s primetime plunge this season took its toll on KABC’s 11 p.m. edition of “Eyewitness News,” which dropped dramatically with adults, men and women in every chief demo category. The biggest hits came in adults 18-49 (slipping from 4.2 to 3.2 year-to-year) and with men 18-49 (3.9 to 2.7) and 25-54 (3.4 from a 4.7).

The “Eyewitness News” tumble has allowed “Action News” to move within striking distance of second in the news race at 11 for the first time in awhile. KCBS tied with KABC for men 18-49 at 11 p.m. (deadlocked at 2.7) and, in rising nearly a full point in men 25-54, now trails KABC in that category by just 0.2 (3.4-3.2) and 0.4 (4.1-3.7) in adults 25-54.

And despite knocking off the network O&Os, at 11 KNBC saw huge chunks of its female audience depart as KTTV’s “Married … With Children” and KTLA’s “Seinfeld”/”Cheers” combo did bang-up demo business.

Good times for ‘Married’

In fact, “Married,” while improving 52% in adults 18-49 year-to-year in late fringe, beat everything in the time period in adults and men 18-49 except “Channel 4 News,” also taking first in adults and men 18-34.

KTTV also enjoyed gains at 11:30 p.m., with “MASH” now controlling the time period among the indies in the key demo categories, nearly doubling its 18-34 audience in men and adults year-to-year and rising at least 0.5 with every group of both genders to fend off KTLA’s “Murphy Brown” and KCOP’s marginally performing paranormal magazine strip “Strange Universe.”

In the morning, KTTV’s 6 a.m. “Fox Morning News” got on the demo map, shooting past KTLA’s “Early Edition” and KNBC’s long-dominant “Today in L.A.,” and more than tripling its numbers in adults 18-34 and nearly quadrupling its adult 18-49 and 25-54 figures to close the gap with women and men.

“The KTLA Morning News” meanwhile, kept its top rank in the morning magazine race among adults, men and women 18-49 and 25-54, posting hefty gains in both to knock off the morning network competition and everything else.

But KTTV’s “Good Day L.A.” continues its upward trend, particularly with young adults, tying KTLA in adults 18-34 at 1.3 and beating the KTLA program in young women, 1.8-1.6. The Fox show also grew tremendously in adults 25-54, doubling its count year-to-year.

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