KCAL, KCBS, KTLA post gains with late newscasts

Recent anchor changes have apparently paid off for Los Angeles’ KCAL, KCBS and KTLA.

KABC, of course, continued its overall dominance of the L.A. market, winning the November sweep in virtually every measurement.

But other stations had reason to cheer too — particularly KCAL, KCBS and KTLA, all of which had shuffled their teams over the past year. They posted impressive double-digit gains this November with their late newscasts, according to Nielsen.

On a Monday through Friday basis, CBS-owned indie KCAL won the 10 p.m. hour with 199,000 viewers — up a big 42% vs. November 2009. And Tribune’s CW affil KTLA was in second, rising 45% to 142,000 viewers.

This month’s contentious political campaign helped goose some of those ratings, of course.”The Cooley-Harris race just ended,” said KCBS/KCAL topper Steve Mauldin, referring to the tight California attorney general race, which came down to just a few thousand ballots. “And that governor’s race was a movie. We’ve had a very interesting run.”

But that’s only part of the story. Fox-owned KTTV didn’t enjoy a similar boost, despite dominating among the three stations during the 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. primetime hours. KTTV was actually down 6%, to 109,000 viewers, during the month — winding up in third place.

KTTV may have been impacted by a move to experiment with its newscast — bringing in more interviews and using its anchor desk less, for example.

Those changes came in the wake of massive budget cuts and staff reductions at KTTV, which as a result turned to more in-studio fare. Viewers apparently aren’t impressed, however — and KCAL and KTLA have benefitted from KTTV’s changes.

At KCAL, the numbers repped validation for its new 10 p.m. team: anchors Rick Garcia and Sharon Tay, who were first paired in April, along with new meteorologist Evelyn Taft. And at KTLA, the ratings were a nice boost for anchor Micah Ohlman, who first joined the station a year ago and more recently went solo at 10 o’clock.

Meanwhile, at 11 p.m. both KABC and KCBS are also celebrating strong November books — thanks in part to their primetime performances.

Traditional market leader KABC extended its dominance, attracting 349,000 viewers at 11 p.m. in November — up 16%. KCBS, meanwhile, was up 12% to 274,000 viewers, making it a solid second place.

KCBS was happy with the results following the move of anchor Pat Harvey and weathercaster Jackie Johnson alongside Paul Magers.

KNBC, hampered by its network’s weak primetime, dropped 16% to 207,000 viewers.

In the early morning news race, “KTLA Morning News” averaged 152,000 viewers, beating rival KTTV’s “Good Day L.A.” (133,000) — although KABC actually won the daypart with “Good Morning America” (183,000).

In the key adult 25-54 demo, KABC dominated weekdays at 11 p.m. with a 2.0 rating/8 share, while KCBS and KNBC tied with a 1.1/5.

At 10 p.m., KCAL won, with a 1.4/4, while both KTLA and KTTV posted a 0.8/2.

In the morning race, it was a three-way tie: “KTLA Morning News,” “Good Day L.A.” and KNBC’s “Today” all averaged a 1.1/9.

KABC led the market, from sign-on to sign-off.

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