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‘Jerry’ tough on ‘Winfrey’

KNBC victor in news wars

With demographic ratings data in from the November sweeps, WABC New York held on to Gotham’s local news crown, but in Los Angeles, KABC passed the hat to KNBC.

Syndie talker “Jerry Springer” had a November book to remember on both coasts. Longtime leader “Oprah Winfrey” was beaten by, or tied with, “Springer” or “Rosie O’Donnell” for the No. 1 spot in key adult demos in both markets.

In latenight, syndie newcomers “Keenen Ivory Wayans” and “Vibe” proved competitive with CBS’ “Late Show With David Letterman,” but both shows were down from their November ’96 timeslot averages in Gotham and L.A.

In New York, key local news demo rankings were mostly unchanged from last year. WABC and WNBC declined or remained flat year-to-year, while WCBS gained at 5 p.m. from improved lead-ins.

In L.A., a boost from “Rosie O’Donnell” helped KNBC tie or beat KABC in the 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. news races in adults 18-49 and adults 25-54. At 3 p.m., KNBC’s “Rosie” grew from a 2 rating in November ’96 to a 3 rating in adults 18-49 and 25-54, while KABC’s 3 p.m. news lead-in “Oprah Winfrey” dipped from a 3 to a 2 in adults 18-49 and was flat at a 3 in adults 25-54.

Univision’s KMEX continued to stay competitive with its 6-7 p.m. news block. The Spanish-language outlet tied local leaders KNBC and KABC in adults 18-49 and adults 25-54.

In the tight race between NBC and ABC for network newscast bragging rights, WABC maintained a comfortable lead in adult demos over WNBC, but KABC and KNBC were in a dead heat in adults 25-54 with a 3 rating. KABC and Peter Jennings gained ground over year-ago numbers in adults 18-49 to top KNBC and Tom Brokaw in adults 18-49.

In Gotham’s 10 p.m. news race, Fox’s WNYW continued to maintain its lead, thanks to Fox’s growth in primetime, while WPIX took a narrow second place and UPN’s WWOR came in third. In L.A., Fox’s KTTV topped all 10 p.m. news demos, with KTLA trailing a distant second, followed by KCOP and indie KCAL.

In the battle for morning news viewers, WNBC’s “Today” took the lead from WABC’s “Good Morning America” in adults 18-49 and maintained its lead in adults 25-54. In L.A., KNBC’s “Today” was neck-and-neck with “Good Morning America” in key demos. KTTV’s “Good Day L.A.” posted notable growth over November ’96, while numbers for the “KTLA Morning News” were flat or down.

In late newscasts, WPIX’s “Seinfeld” continued to kill the O&O news competition in Gotham, while KCAL’s “Jerry Springer” surged over year-ago stats to cream all 11 p.m. competitors.