Olympics fuel WNBC news wins

WABC wins 6 p.m. race

WNBC propelled its parent network’s coverage of the Salt Lake City Olympics into a runaway first-place win for its 11 p.m. news and a solid No. 1 for its nightly hourlong “Live at Five” newscast for the February New York sweeps.

But WABC, the perennial winner with “Eyewitness News” from 6-6:30 p.m., edged out WNBC in that race. WABC’s news ended up a strong second to WNBC at 5 p.m. and a weak second at 11 p.m.

WCBS was well behind in all three local newscasts, although it shot up by 21% at 6 p.m. from February 2001 and showed slight gains at 5 and 11:30, helped in part by the fact that its signal is stronger than that of its competitors because it kept its transmission on top of the Empire State Building. WCBS jolted itself back up to full power quickly following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center while its rivals had to scramble to reach New York viewers of over-the-air signals.

Fox’s WNYW, with a 4.0 average rating, beat its two counterparts — WWOR (3.1) and WPIX (3.0) — for the No. 1 spot in the hourlong news at 10 p.m. sweepstakes. But two of the three, WNYW and WWOR, also Fox-owned, were hurt by the Olympics, falling off by double digits in the ratings from the previous February. Tribune’s WPIX was down only 1%. But all three suffered substantial double-digit declines in share of audience from 10 to 11.

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