KABC tops primetime, local news

'Oprah,' 'Millionaire' lift affil past KNBC; KMEX wins in news demos

KABC rocketed past KNBC in the November sweeps local demo ratings, posting double-digit gains across the board over the same period last year for the cut-throat 4, 5 and 6 p.m. news races.

Also pulling strong November demos was Univision affil KMEX, which beat out all English-lingo stations to take the 6 p.m. news crown in adults 18-49 and 25-54 (up 28% and 23%, respectively, over last year). Additionally, KMEX took the 5 p.m. belt in adults 18-49 with its news mag “Primero Impacto.”

KABC’s resurgent strength can be attributed to the one-two punch of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and the primetime quiz show phenom “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”

After a number of tight contests with KNBC’s “Rosie O’Donnell Show” at 3 p.m. in recent years, “Oprah” spanked “Rosie” in every demo, posting a 2.4 rating vs. “Rosie’s” 1.4 among adults 18 to 49, and a 2.5 rating vs. “Rosie’s” 1.6 among adults 25 to 54.

That translated to KABC’s strongest early news showing in recent memory. Compared to last November, KABC’s 4 p.m. newscast shot up 75% in women (3.5), 20% among men 18 to 49 (1.2) , 50% with women 25 to 54 (3.9) and 55% with men 25 to 54 (1.7).

In contrast, KNBC’s 4 p.m. numbers fell about as much, down 31% in women 18 to 49 (1.6), down 22% with women 25 to 54 (2.1) and down 20% among men 25 to 54 (1.2). Men 18 to 49 numbers (1.1) were flat.

Also at 4p.m., KCBS’s frosh news effort “Women to Women” was clearly a bust, even in the demo it was meant to attract. The lite news effort ironically attracted 29% fewer women 18-49 (0.5) and women 25-54 (0.5) than what occupied the timeslot last November, “The Howie Mandel Show” (0.7 in both female demos). “Women to Women” also scared away virtually any male viewers, posting just a 0.1 among men 18 to 49, down from 0.6 last year.

At 5 p.m., KABC posted its largest gains with women 18 to 49, jumping 39 percent in the demo, while KNBC fell 11% among the same crowd. In the critical news demographic of adults 25-54, KABC was tops with a 3.4, followed in order by KNBC (2.5), KMEX (2.5) and KCBS (0.6).

Also at 5 p.m., KCAL fared well with syndie series “Change of Heart,” pulling in a respectable 2.0 in adults 18-49 and 25-54.

Powered by “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” KABC was the primetime leader in adults 18-49 and 25-54 (6.7, 7.3 respectively). KNBC was second (5.6, 6.5) followed by KTTV (4.9, 4.7), KMEX (4.6, 4.0) KCBS (3.0, 3.8), KTLA (3.1, 3.2), KCOP (1.8, 1.6) and KCAL (1.5, 1.5).

Besides taking the cake at 6 p.m., KMEX also demonstrated its ratings prowess by winning at 6:30 p.m. in adults 18-49 and 25-54 with its “Noticias 34” (3.7 and 3.4 respectively), beating all three network news broadcasts.

But the English-speaking Los Angeles stations are quick to dispute KMEX’s demo victories, as they’ve claimed for years that Nielsen’s sample is too heavily weighted toward Latino households where Spanish is the primary language spoken. But Nielsen is expected to change its sampling methods to better reflect the Latino population by next year.

In the always-tight 7-9 a.m. ayem news race, KTLA took the adults 25-54 crown (1.7), but among adults 18 to 49 fell to KTTV, which led the stations with 1.6. The two local entries topped NBC’s “The Today Show,” ABC’s “Good Morning America” and CBS’s latest attempt, “The Early Show.”

Other notable November demo developments:

  • Somewhat unsettlingly, KTLA’s kiddie sensation “Pokemon” is a hit with guys as well, scoring higher numbers in men 18-49 than news programs on KABC, KNBC and KCBS.

  • KNBC was tops at 11 p.m., taking out KTLA’s heavyweight “Friends” in both the 18-49 (3.9) and 25-54 (5.2) adult brackets. The NBC affil has grown its late-night adults 25-54 base by 13%. Following “Friends” (3.6 in adults 18-49), KABC was third among adults 18 to 49 (2.9) but second in adults 25 to 54 (3.8),while KCBS lagged in both demos (1.3, 1.7 respectively).

  • KCAL’s “Judge Judy” has lost its luster with adults 18-49, posting a 1.9 showing at 7:30p.m. The gaveler now lags behind KCOP’s “Frasier” (2.1); KTLA’s “Seinfeld” (4.8); KTTV’s “The Simpsons” (3.3); KABC’s “Wheel of Fortune” (2.7); and KNBC’s “Access Hollywood” (2.4).

  • KTTV was king of the hill at 10 p.m. in adults 18-49 (2.8), knocking KTLA to second (2.6), while KCAL (1.3) and KCOP (1.1) lagged behind. But in adults 25-54, KTTV (2.8) flip-flopped its position with KTLA, which won with 3.0. KCAL was in third with a 1.4, while KCOP trailed with a 0.9.

(Michael Schneider contributed to this report.)

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