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WNBC, WABC share N.Y. news sweeps title

Gamers, syndie fare help decide Gotham ratings race

NEW YORK — WNBC and WABC shared the news lead in the New York May sweeps: WNBC’s No. 1-rated half-hour newscast at 11 p.m. handily beat second-place WABC’s, a standing that was reversed at 6 p.m., when WABC won out over WNBC in the half-hour-news sweepstakes.

The also-ran in both time periods is WCBS’ half-hour news, which tied for fourth at 11 p.m. with WNYW’s “Seinfeld” repeats, with WPIX’s “Frasier” repeats in third place. At 6 p.m., WCBS’ half-hour news was well off the pace of WABC’s and WNBC’s, tying for third with the Spanish-language newscast on WXTV. All four 6 p.m. newscasts are harvesting better ratings than those of May 2001, with WXTV up by 52% and WCBS by 28%.

In the 5 p.m. news hour, WNBC’s “Live at Five” comes in first, winning a squeaker over WABC’s “Eyewitness News.” WXTV’s Spanish-language news edges out WCBS, and although both showed ratings gains from a year ago they’re averaging far less than half the audience of the two leaders.

Gamers still rule

In the key entertainment category, WABC owns the dominant twosome at 7 and 7:30 p.m., “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune,” which more than double the viewership for second-place WPIX’s reruns of “Friends” and “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

WNBC ends up in third place with its combination of “Extra” and “Access Hollywood.” Reruns of “The Simpsons” and “Seinfeld” put WNYW in fourth place, followed by “Steve Harvey” and “Jamie Foxx” on WWOR and “Hollywood Squares” and “Entertainment Tonight” on WCBS.

WNYW’s hourlong news at 10 p.m. finished eight-tenths of a rating point above each of its two news competitors, WPIX and WWOR.