L.A. TV station market sees action

Longtime also-ran up in L.A. book

The Los Angeles TV station market provided its share of drama during the May ratings sweep: Longtime also-ran KCBS managed to post improvements across its newscasts, and morning ratings trophies switched hands in the wakes of major anchor shuffles.

KCBS posted gains with news at 6 a.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., while newscasts on rival network O&Os KNBC and KABC posted losses during the same time periods.

The station also was the only network-affiliated station in the market to post gains in primetime.

While the station continues to trail its bigger competitors in most dayparts, it hasn’t gained such across-the-board traction during a major ratings sweep in a decade.

KCBS is attributing its improvements to several factors, including the addition of former KABC anchor Harold Greene at 5 and 11 and former KNBC morning man Kent Shocknek, from 5-7 ayem.

The halo effect of CBS’ “Survivor” hasn’t hurt either.

In addition, syndie stalwart “Judge Judy,” which joined KCBS’ sked last fall, has boosted the station’s news lead-in at 4 p.m. Its averages for the time period are up year-to-year 267% in rating and 500% in share.

Meanwhile, the morning newscasts in L.A. have been closely watched since the anchor shuffle began in March, when Shocknek and Kathy Vara, the longtime anchor team for KNBC’s “Today in L.A.,” were let go.

(Vara since landed on KABC’s lineup during the day.)

Then a few days into the sweep, Barbara Beck, longtime anchor of Tribune station KTLA’s “KTLA Morning News,” left the show.

‘Today’ tops

Usual market-leader “Today in L.A.” continued to hold first place from 5-7 a.m., but it posted double-digit percentage losses year-to-year in both rating and share to a 3.4/16.

The station, however, wasn’t alone in posting losses.

KABC’s “Eyewitness News Morning,” which was a clear second to “Today in L.A.” from 6-7 a.m. last May, was a clear third this time around.

And the ABC station did not have early-morning anchor changes.

KABC was down a full rating point and 5 shares to a 2.4/11.

Fox-owned KTTV’s news moved up 19% in rating and 15% in share to second at 6 a.m., with a 3.2/15.

During the breakfast race, NBC’s “Today” on KNBC snagged the first- place crown from ABC’s “Good Morning America” on KABC, which was the market’s top-rated program from 7-9 a.m. in May 2000.

“Today” reigned with a 4.0/15 to “GMA’s” 3.1/11.

In the local breakfast battle, KTTV’s “Good Day L.A.” overtook “KTLA Morning News,” which had been first among local news shows from 7-9 for May 2000.

KTTV earned a 3.3/12 to KTLA’s 3.1/11.

KTLA and KTTV also traditionally war at 10, with their hour newscasts. This sweep was no different.

Calling a winner was difficult, as KTTV earned a 3.95/6 weekday average to KTLA’s 3.93/7.

Likewise, third place was a brawl.

Young Broadcasting’s KCAL, which airs a 45-minute newscast followed by 15 minutes of sports, earned a 2.5/4 for the news portion. Their hour average, including sports, was a 2.2/4.

Chris-Craft’s KCOP earned a 2.4/4 for its hour newscast.