ABC may be struggling in primetime, but local owned-and-operated outlet KABC still managed to take the local sign-on to sign-off crown this May — and win the majority of its news contests as well.
KABC won the total day race with a 4.1 rating/10 share, off just 2% from May 2002. In comparison, second-place KNBC (3.4/8) was off 29%.
“That’s a huge swing in a year,” said KABC prexy-general manager Arnie Kleiner. “It speaks to the strength of what we do. That’s our news, our syndicated fare.”
KNBC hung on to its latenight 11 p.m. news crown with a 6.7 household rating/14 share in the Monday-Friday race; KABC’s “Eyewitness News” was second with a 5.7/12.
In the 10 p.m. race, Fox’s KTTV (4.2/7) extended its lead over Tribune-owned KTLA (3.3/5).
But the end of the war and slower news cycles ushered in uniformly lower May sweeps news ratings. Most major L.A. market stations saw declines in their key late news timeslot.
“I think overall the news apathy in the market is apparent, in particular since the war ended,” said KCAL/KCBS general manager Don Corsini.
At 11 p.m., KNBC took a 20% hit and KABC fell 8%. At 10 p.m., KTTV was off 9%, KTLA 23% and KCAL 30%. Univision-owned Spanish-lingo station KMEX defied the trend, posting a 4.1/9 — a 32% gain, placing it in third place behind just KNBC and KABC.
The other exception was perennial underdog KCBS: The Eye-owned station’s 11 p.m. newscast made it the only English-lingo station to post a gain (3.5/7, up 6%) in the hour, thanks to a strong late news lead-in (6.2/11).
Boasting a whopping 28% increase in the 7 a.m. hour, KTTV’s breakfastcast “Good Day L.A.” (4.1/13, up 28%) once again edged “KTLA Morning News” (3.7/12, also up 16%), while ABC’s “Good Morning America” (3.5/11, down 10%), NBC’s “Today Show” (3.0/9, down 21%) and KCBS (0.8/2, down 22%) all posted major losses from last May.
Longstanding winner “The Oprah Winfrey Show” continued to tower over the syndicated talker competish in the 3 p.m. hour, up 10% with a 5.5/15 rating.
KABC (“Eyewitness News”) led the late-day newscasts, winning the 4 p.m. (5.1/12, up 11%), 5 p.m. (5.5/11, up 6%) and 6 p.m. (5.6/10, down 2%) timeslots.
In the ever more competitive early news race, KTTV and KABC tied at 6 a.m. (3.1/13), followed by KTLA (3.0/12). KNBC, which had dominated the slot from 1994 until last February, dropped to fourth (2.2/9).
Despite a 14% ratings drop from last May, “Friends”-fueled KNBC managed to beat out “American Idol”-dominated KTTV by a razor-thin margin in the Monday-Sunday primetime race, with 8.0/12 over the Fox-owned station’s 7.9/12 (up 8%).
(Michael Schneider contributed to this report.)