KABC news wins ratings race in L.A.

Network has long been dominant at 11 p.m.

KABC led all local news programs at 11 p.m. in total viewers for the February sweep in the Los Angeles market.

And Eye flagship station WCBS in Gotham posted a major milestone for the month. Its 11 p.m. newscast was best among total viewers in both the region and the country for the first time since the controversial 1994 Lillehammer Olympics.

ABC’s Los Angeles O&O has long been dominant in the region, and remained best in early morning, 6 p.m. and latenight.

KABC, also best in the 25-54 demo, drew an average of 320,000 for its weeknight 11 o’clock broadcast, coming ahead of KCBS’ 272,000, the highest number since the 2007 February sweeps for the newscast. KNBC was third at 215,000.

Compared to a year ago, KCBS saw a 33% uptick and KABC increased viewership by 25%. KNBC’s total audience at 11 o’clock fell 9%.

One point to note: CBS is the dominant leader in total viewers at 10 p.m. most weeknights, and that gives the net an advantage when local news begins at 11.

In the 6 a.m. race — prior to when each of the three nets switch to their national morning shows — KABC was equally as dominant. Station drew 198,000 viewers, followed by KTLA, Fox’s KTTV, KNBC and KCBS.

In the demo at 6 a.m., though, KTTV edges KABC with 1.2 rating vs. a 1.1.

At 10 p.m., KCAL has a slight lead in total viewers over Fox. CBS-owned KCAL is averaging 177,000 viewers, just 7,000 more than Fox, who bests KCAL in the demo. KTLA trails with 119,000.

Though it didn’t have Tonya Harding to kneecap competitors’ viewership this time around, WCBS pulled in an average of 502,000 total viewers in the weeknight. Excluding coverage of the ’94 Winter Olympics, the last time CBS had the No. 1 slot in an apples-to-apples newscast was in 1991.

CBS television stations prexy Peter Dunn told Variety that a key factor in the boost was the unusually high volume of snow trapping Gothamites at home.

“We were doing great weather coverage,” he said. “The assignment desks speak to each other in the morning so there’s no duplication. Now we have three times as many reporters covering the snow.”

Meanwhile, ABC’s popular “Eyewitness News” 11 p.m. newscast led competitors with 214,000 in the 25-54 year-old demo, although the net’s 457,000 total viewers put it behind CBS.