NEW YORK — WNBC is poised to win the February sweepstakes in two of the three key local newscasts, at 5 p.m. and 11 p.m., but has fallen to second place at 6 p.m. to WABC.
WCBS is ending in third, even further behind than last year at 5, 6 and 11, struggling to its worst February news performance ever. The station is still breaking in a new anchor team at 6 — Ernie Anastos and Dana Tyler — and at 11 — Anastos and Angela Ray.
WABC was the only one of the Big Three O&Os that showed audience gains year to year in any of those news time periods, climbing by 9% at 5 and by 11% at 6.
Similarly, while the one-two-three finishers in local news hours at 10 p.m. were the same as last February — Fox’s WNYW, Chris-Craft’s WWOR and Tribune’s WPIX, — all three fell off in viewership year to year.
In morning news, from 6 to 7, WABC took first place, jumping by 28% from last February to overtake WNBC, last year’s No. 1, which fell by 12%. WNYW was third, WPIX fourth, WCBS fifth and Spanish-language WXTV sixth.
WCBS’s one bright spot in local news is at noon, where it continues to finish ahead of its only noon news rival, WABC.
The syndie scene
Among syndicated firstrun series, WABC’s “Live With Regis & Kelly” engineered a humongous 31% increase, to a 5.1 average rating at 9 a.m., from last February’s “Live With Regis & Kathie Lee.” The new version easily won the time period.
WNBC’ two half-hours of “Judge Judy,” with a 6.7 rating, continues to beat WABC’s “Oprah,” which gets a 5.6.
“Jeopardy” and “Wheel of Fortune” seem to be permanent holders of first place on WABC at 7 and 7:30 p.m., but they’re both down by double digits in the rating from last February.
The best-performing off-network half-hours in New York are “Friends” on WPIX at 7 and 11 p.m., “Seinfeld” at 7:30 p.m. and “Frazier” at 11:30 p.m.