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Sweeps sweet for some

WABC rules Gotham while L.A. sees draw

Big events like the Olympics and Super Bowl did little to shift the balance of power in New York and Los Angeles, according to final Nielsen numbers.

Sweeps ratings are increasingly irrelevant, given the advent of Local People Meters — but they’re still coveted by some stations for bragging rights purposes. In New York, WABC ruled the roost, while in Los Angeles the battle was more of a draw.

In L.A., KABC remained tops among English-language viewers in homes and the adults 18-49 and 25-54 demos at 5 and 6 p.m., while KNBC led at 11 p.m. A surging KCBS also managed to tie KNBC at 11 p.m. among adults 25-54 on the month’s 11 non-Olympic nights.

Univision’s Spanish language KMEX remained the overall market demo leader at 6 and 11 p.m. on a seven-night basis.

At 10 p.m., an “American Idol”- fueled KTTV beat KTLA and KCAL in all measurements. Thanks to “Idol,” Fox-owned KTTV also eked out a primetime adults 18-49 victory, even with the Olympics on KNBC. (Of course, KMEX’s telenovelas beat them both.) KNBC was still the most-watched station in primetime, however.

In total sign-on to sign-off, KABC and KNBC tied in households and viewers for first in the market, while KABC was No. 1 among English outlets in adults 18-49 and 25-54. KMEX won those demos overall.

In Gotham, WABC trumped the Olympics on WNBC in the February sweeps by coming in first in the key local-news races at 5, 6 and 11 p.m. in households and in adults 18-49 and 25-54.

WNBC came in second in households in all three newscasts, its 11 p.m. telecast delayed to midnight during the Olympics. The Spanish-language WXTV wound up second at 5 and 6 p.m. in 18-49 and second at 6 p.m. in 25-54. WNBC was close behind in the key demos.

Of the three stations that carry hourlong newscasts at 10 p.m., Fox’s WNYW continued its dominance, more than doubling the numbers of its WWOR sibling in households and in 18-49 and 25-54. Tribune’s WPIX came in third in all categories at 10.

From sign-on to sign-off in 18-49, WABC edged out WNBC by a tenth of a rating point, with WABC up by 5% from February 2005 and WNBC up by 6%. WNYW, a distant third, fell off by 20% in 18-49.

WNBC’s ratings for carriage of the Olympics were surprisingly modest in 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54. The Olympics did score big on WNBC with kids 2-11 and people older than 55.