Not even the Winter Olympics can slow down the Jerry Springer Express.
With just one night remaining in the Los Angeles-area February sweeps race, Springer’s nightly 11 p.m. outing on KCAL was poised to finish No. 1 in the latenight race in total households for the first time ever — knocking off every late O&O newscast as well as “The Tonight Show” and “Late Show With David Letterman” despite KCBS’ 17-night Olympic windfall.
Pending the Wednesday-night ratings returns from Nielsen, “Jerry Springer” — an hour that was recently described by one critic as “human cockfighting” — was averaging an 8.8 rating and 20 share during the first 19 weeknights of sweeps and an 8.6/18 share for the 11-11:30 half-hour.
Only KNBC’s late news still had a chance to catch Springer at the wire, logging an 8.5 with an 18 share, but the 11:30 p.m.-midnight portion of “The Tonight Show” trailed Springer with a 7.1/18.
However, KNBC was able to overcome KCBS’ massive Olympics-fueled primetime lead-in advantage of nearly 4 points Monday through Friday and better than five points on average nightly to win the 11 p.m. news race with an 8.5 rating/18 share to date while KCBS tallied a 7.9/18 for second place. It was, nonetheless, Channel 2’s strongest late news performance since November ’94.
But KABC appears to have snuffed KNBC in the 6 p.m. news battle, pulling in an 8.5 rating/15 share average to KNBC’s 8.2/14 with just a single day re-maining in the four-week survey.
A more complete L.A.-area February sweeps analysis will be included in Friday’s edition of Daily Variety.