KNBC sweeps news crown

Peacock wins all slots; 'Springer' tackles latenight

KCBS won the battle of the headlines with its much-hyped (and never-ending) series on unsanitary conditions at L.A. County restaurants, but KNBC ultimately trounced KCBS and everyone else in scoring news victories in all six head-to-head time periods for the first time ever in the November sweeps for the Los Angeles metro market.

In dominating the survey based on Nielsen Media Research data from Oct. 30 to Nov. 26, KNBC’s newscasts emerged No. 1 at 5:30 a.m., 6 a.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., knocking off KABC in early fringe, late fringe and latenight news for the first time in eight years. The six-out-of-six showing (including early morning), however, is unprecedented.

The only news broadcast that KNBC lost to KABC was at midday. However, its midday report (3.6 rating/13 share) airs at 11 a.m., while KABC’s “Eyewitness News” (3.9/14) runs at 11:30 a.m., removing it from direct competition.

KNBC’s win at 11 p.m. was its 20th straight sweeps triumph for its late-night news, racking up an 8.4/19 to KABC’s 6.9/15 and a 6.8/15 for KCBS in the Monday through Sunday count.

For its part, KCBS was buoyed by its restaurant-sanitation investigative series combined with some significant ratings inroads for CBS in primetime. Channel 2 was nonetheless unable to escape third place in any major news time period and was tied by Spanish-language KMEX and its “Noticias 34” newscast at 6 p.m. The two deadlocked at 3.9/7.

Yet the biggest story of this sweeps locally may just have been KCAL’s “The Jerry Springer Show,” which pulled in a remarkable 7.3/18 at 11 p.m. — nearly doubling the 4.3/10 numbers of November ’96.

Only KNBC’s news beat “Springer” during the 11 o’clock time period. The syndie hour not only obliterated the numbers registered by fellow syndie talkers “The Keenen Ivory Wayans Show” (3.1/8) and “Vibe” (1.8/5), it also easily knocked off “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno,” “Late Show With David Letterman,” “Nightline” and everything else.

Big push

So dominant was “Springer” that it boosted its KCAL lead-out “The Maury Povich Show” to a 4.2/16 performance after a 2.8/11 a year ago. And the fact that the three major O&Os were collectively down year-to-year at 11 p.m. was due almost exclusively to the “Springer” juggernaut.

KABC came close to achieving the unthinkable: losing at 3 p.m. with “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” It barely squeaked past “The Rosie O’Donnell Show,” which was powered by Rosie’s mega-promoted interview with Barbra Streisand. The final count: “Oprah,” 5.6/16 (down 14% in rating year-to-year); “Rosie,” 5.5/15 (up 2% in rating from November ’96).

The lower average for “Oprah” helped KNBC overcome KABC’s typical late-afternoon news stronghold, helping Channel 4 to its largest victory margin over KABC at 6 p.m. (7.5/15 to 6.7/14) since 1990. The absence of Laura Diaz at 6 p.m. (she moved into the 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. slots replacing the departed Lisa McRee) is also thought to have been a factor.

While “Keenen Ivory Wayans” failed to deliver the numbers generated last November by the 11 p.m. “Married … With Children” reruns on KTTV, its 3.1/8 figures did manage to best the performance of “David Letterman” (2.6/8), which was more than doubled by “Tonight” (5.6/17).

Meanwhile, the 10 p.m. news race continued to be dominated by KTTV and its “Fox 11 News at 10” despite some year-to-year erosion in Fox’s primetime fortunes locally. “Fox News” dipped slightly to a 5.5/10 (from 5.6/10 in November ’96), but it was good enough to slip past KTLA’s “News at Ten” (which enjoyed a slight uptick to 4.8/8 from 4.7/8 a year ago).

It was the fifth consecutive major sweep victory for “Fox News” dating to May ’96. KCAL’s “10 O’Clock Report” took third (2.7/5) and KCOP’s “UPN News 13” fourth place (1.8/3).

The news was still worse for KTLA in the morning news competish, where “The KTLA Morning News” continued its slide. After controlling the time period last year with a 4.4/17 in households, the two-hour weekday cast slipped to a 3.1/11, an alarming 30% dip in rating and 35% dive in share year to year.

Moreover, “KTLA Morning News” registered a third-place showing in the time period (behind “Good Morning America’s” 3.5/13 and the “Today” show’s 3.3/12) for the first time during a major sweep in six years. At the same time, KTTV’s “Good Day L.A.” sustained its growth, posting gains for its eighth straight major sweep in finishing at 2.5/9.

‘Simpsons’ dip

But KTTV was down significantly in fringe and prime access in year to year. While the 6 p.m. “Home Improvement” held fairly steady at 6.6/12 (from 6.9/12 a year ago), the 6:30 p.m. “Simpsons” broadcast dipped from 8.4 to 7.6 to barely hold on to first. And the 7 p.m. “Home Improvement” made a huge nosedive — from 10.4/17 to 7.5/12 — to move behind KABC’s “Jeopardy!” (10.8/18).

The prime access edition of “The Simpsons” barely hung onto first place over KABC’s “Wheel of Fortune,” dropping to 9.9/15 from an 11.3/18 last November.

Boosted by the its winning news lead-in from KNBC, meanwhile, “Extra” (6.0/10) knocked off KCBS’ “Entertainment Tonight” (3.9/6) in their head-to-head duel at 7 p.m., with Channel 4’s “Access Hollywood” squashing “Hard Copy” on KCBS at 7:30.

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