Olympics boost KNBC ratings, but KABC game

KCBS remains stuck at third

While KNBC got a nice boost from the Peacock’s Olympics coverage, rival KABC nevertheless showed plenty of ratings mettle during the just-completed February sweeps.

Boosted by the Salt Lake City Games, KNBC’s 11 p.m. Monday-Friday newscast (9.9/22, up 21% from February 2001) widened its lead over KABC (5.8/12, down 8%), which finished a distant second. KCBS (3.9/8, down 15%) remained stuck in third for the frame, which ended Wednesday.

Yet the glow of the Olympic torch didn’t do much for KNBC in daytime.

With the still-formidable “Oprah” as its lead-in, KABC swept the 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. news races, scoring a 4.7 Nielsen household rating/12 share, 5.2/11 and 6.2/12, respectively. KNBC’s newscasts had to make due with a less seasoned direct lead-in — rookie syndie “Weakest Link,” which drew a 1.3/4 vs. “Oprah’s” 4.6/14.

As a result, KNBC’s 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. news shows drew a 3.2/8, 4.9/11 and 5.7/11, respectively. Those marks were below those of a year ago (down as much as 20% at 4 p.m.). KABC also dipped (about 10% for 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. ) from February 2001.

Nonetheless, “We’re having a BBQ celebrating the February book,” said KABC head Arnie Kleiner, who also passed out gold medal candies to staffers Wednesday. “Even with the Olympics going on … we never threw in the towel.”

KCBS dropped 21% to a 2.3/5 at 5 p.m. and slipped 18% to a 2.3/4 at 6 p.m. Its 4 p.m. “Judge Judy” lead-in (2.0/5, down 26%) didn’t do much business.

While the Olympics couldn’t lift KNBC out of second place in the daytime news races, the Games had plenty of positive impact for the station.

“We are very proud of our newscasts,” said KNBC news director Kimberly Godwin, pointing out that the station was beat out at 5 p.m. by just three-tenths of a rating point. “The Olympics gave us an opportunity to showcase our capabilities as a news organization.”

Plus, the national edition of “Today” (averaging a 4.7/16) grabbed back the 7-9 a.m. crown from KABC’s “Good Morning America” (3.8/13), which was tops in November. “Today” shot up 21% from a year earlier; “GMA” jumped 9%.

Viewers glomming onto “Today Show” Games fever likely skewed the numbers for other breakfastcasts in the market.

KTLA’s revamped 7 a.m. program edged out KTTV’s gabfest (2.8/10 vs. 2.7/9) for the second straight sweep since new co-anchor Giselle Fernandez came on board. Nonetheless, KTTV fell just 7% from this time last year, compared with KTLA’s steeper 26% drop.

At 6 a.m., most stations enjoyed gains, with KNBC (3.7/16, up 6%) leading the pack, followed by KABC (3.0/13, up 11%), KTTV (2.9/13, up 12%), KTLA (2.8/12, up 17%) and KCBS (1.2/5, up 33%).

In the 10 p.m. Monday-Friday hourlong news matchup, KTTV (3.7/6, down 16%) edged ahead of KTLA (3.4/6, down 19%.) Both took a hit from KNBC’s Olympics coverage.

KCAL’s 45-minute newscast (2.7/4, flat) trumped KCOP (2.0/3, up 15%) for the second straight sweep since new news director Nancy Bauer-Gonzales (formerly with KNBC) came on board. Still, KCOP was the only news station to post growth year-to-year.

Not surprisingly, KNBC was king overall from sign-on to sign-off (Monday-Sunday, 6 a.m.-2 a.m.), landing a 6.3/16, up 40% from this time last year. Runners-up were KABC (4.0/10, down 11%), KTTV (3.2/8, up 10%) and KCBS (2.4/6, down 20%).

In the 8-11 p.m. primetime block, Spanish-lingo KMEX (4.8/8, up 7%) was the only station besides KNBC to better its rating from this past November’s sweeps. Overall, KNBC’s Olympics-pumped primetime snagged a 15.8/25 — a whopping 80% leap.

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