KNBC rides ‘Rosie’ to news wins

Boosted by the competitive presence at 3 p.m. of “The Rosie O’Donnell Show,” a promotional boost coming out of the Summer Olympics and NBC’s dominant primetime lineup, KNBC emerged as a news force in the morning, afternoon and latenight in the Los Angeles-area November sweeps household ratings from Nielsen.

The station that calls itself NBC/4 swept past KABC to take first place at 4, 5 and 11 p.m. with its “Channel 4 News,” the first station to take all three of those time periods during a sweeps since KABC won at 4, 5, 6 and 11 p.m. in July 1994.

In fact, the Peacock O&O was crowing Monday that it had made local history by winning an unprecedented six of seven newscasts, winning with its 5:30 and 6 a.m. newscasts as well as its 11:30 a.m. midday show, while losing only at 6 p.m. to KABC.

However, some faulty mathematics are involved in KNBC’s giving itself the midday crown. In fact, it is at best a tie with both KCBS (3.53 rating) and KABC (3.52), both of which knock off KNBC’s 3.51 when measuring by hundredths. By virtue of its airing at 11 a.m. (vs. 11:30 for KABC and noon for KCBS), however, KNBC is the time period leader. Its 14 share is also higher than the competitors.

Nonetheless, it is an impressive showing for KNBC, taking 4 p.m. with a 6.7/16, up 33% from last November’s 5.0; garnering an 8.0/16 at 5 p.m., a 23% year-to-year rise; and a 9.6/21 at 11 p.m., a modest 4% rise in a time period in which KABC slipped 5%. KNBC inherited an 11.3 primetime average from its NBC lineup.

‘Rosie’ nears ‘Oprah’

Much of the hike for KNBC in late afternoon is tied to the presence of “Rosie O’Donnell” at 3 p.m. “Rosie” gives the station its first real competitor to KABC’s “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” tallying a 5.4/15 for an exceptionally strong second to “Oprah’s” 6.5/21. The “Winfrey” rating is an 8% slip from November ’95, while “O’Donnell’s” numbers represent a sparkling 80% time period improvement from last November’s 3.0/9 for “Sally Jessy Raphael.”

“The ‘Rosie’ lead-in was a key to our dominating, no question,” acknowledged KNBC prexy and G.M. Carol Black. “But it’s more than that. Once people sampled the newscasts and saw we had a better product than anyone in town, they stayed.”

After rebounding to a 6.9/14 in May, KCBS’ “Action News at 11” fell back to 6.4/14, but trails the slumping KABC (slipping on the heels of ABC’s dismal primetime performance) by just a point, with the ABC O&O scoring a 7.4/16.

It is also worth noting that Spanish-language KMEX, after charting significant gains in several successive sweeps books, had a relatively lackluster book aside from modest gains in primetime and found its weeknight 11 p.m. newscast diving a full point year-to-year to a 2.6/6.

KTTV’s one-two punch

Meanwhile, in the 7-8 p.m. access race, the potent KTTV one-two punch of “Home Improvement” and “The Simpsons” rebounded from a subpar May to dominate, with “Home Improvement” streaking past KABC’s “Jeopardy!” with a 10.3/17 to “Jeopardy’s!” 9.8/18, representing an 80% improvement for “Home” over May’s performance.

“The Simpsons” equaled the 11.1/18 numbers of November ’95 at 7:30 p.m. to hold off KABC’s “Wheel of Fortune” (9.9/16) and KTLA’s resurgent “Seinfeld” (7.8/12, up nearly a full point year-to-year).

The rest of the prime access field found “Entertainment Tonight,” with 5.4/9, plunging 1.4 rating points from November to November, due in large part to timeslot competition from KNBC’s “Access Hollywood” (beating only KCOP’s “Star Trek: Deep Space 9” with 5.0/8).

During 6 p.m. access, KTTV’s decision to drop “Married … With Children” and “Cops,” and pick up second runs of “Home Improvement” and “The Simpsons” paid huge dividends, with “Home” taking a close third in the time period, behind KABC and KNBC’s newscasts, with a 6.9/12 (an improvement of nearly two full points from “Married’s” November ’95 numbers) and “Simpsons” dominating the time period with an 8.4/14 – soaring better than three points above the “Cops” numbers of 4.6/8 from a year ago.

KABC managed to rise nearly a point, to 7.8, from 6.9, year-to-year with its “Eyewitness News” at 6 p.m. to somewhat derail the KNBC news juggernaut. The new syndie series “Real TV” managed, at 6:30 p.m., to hold for KCAL most of the “America’s Funniest Home Videos” number from the previous November, scoring a 5.3/9 after a 5.7/10 for “Videos” in November ’95.

This also proved to be a hefty sweep for KTTV’s weeknight “Fox News at 10,” which not only upended KTLA’s “News at Ten” once again (after its drought-busting May win) but upped its lead over second by better than a full point, tallying 5.7/10 to KTLA’s 4.6/8. It also represents a 46% gain year-to-year for Fox News (from a 3.9/7 in November ’95).

Fox’s helping hand

Of course, the station’s massive Fox primetime lead-in likely had something to do with KTTV’s resounding win. Its 9:45-10 p.m. quarter-hour lead-in averaged 11.2/17 (down from 11.7/17 in May), while KTLA’s movie lineup handed the news a 6.9/10 final 15 minutes. KCOP also showed some life at 10 p.m., its news jumping to a 2 for the first time in a while with a 2.0/3 (trailing third-place KCAL’s 2.5/4).

KNBC retained its dominance in the 5:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. weekday morning news races. At 6, the Peacock won easily with a 3.8/20 with its “Today in L.A.” to a 2.8/15 for “KTLA News Early Edition” and a 2.4/13 for “Fox Morning News,” which rocketed from an 0.9/6 last November to pass KABC for third.

Then at 7 a.m., “The KTLA Morning News” took control, as usual, rebounding from a so-so performance in November ’95 to blast the competition with a 4.5/17 (up .8 year-to-year). “Good Morning America” grabbed second (3.3/12, rising slightly year-to-year), with “Today” third (3.1/12) and KTTV’s “Good Day L.A.” fourth (2.1/8, a 30% improvement from November ’95).

At 11 p.m., KCAL’s “Jerry Springer” (3.9/10), despite a modest rise year-to-year, lost its indie lead to KTTV’s offnet pair “Married … With Children” (4.7/10) and “MASH” (3.7/10), which combined during the hour to score 4.2/10.

The irrepressible “Married” also came through for KTTV at 5:30, improving more than a point on the station’s “Wonder Years” numbers of November ’95 with a 5.2/10 (up from 4.1/8).

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