Thursday, May 25, 2000

Channel 12 sweeps news ratings

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        WKRC-TV has swept the TV year, winning the news ratings for all three “sweeps” months.

        Channel 12 won every newscast in May, as the CBS affiliate did in November and February. The station won the 11 p.m. news with a 12.8 rating, up 23 percent from a year ago. (One ratings point on local Nielsen meters represents about 8,000 TV homes.)

        WCPO-TV (Channel 9), which won the February and May late news in 1999, finished a distant second at 11 p.m. with a 9.2 rating. The late news audience dropped 14 percent from last May, despite its ABC network winning prime-time nationally and locally. (Thanks to Who Wants to be a Millionaire.)

        WXIX-TV's 10 p.m. news continued to grow, with Channel 19 (8.8) pulling within one-half of a ratings point of Channel 9. For the second sweeps month, the Fox affiliate's prime-time newscast drew more viewers than WLWT's (Channel 5) late news.

        The plunge continued at Channel 5, which averaged a 7.5 rating, down 18 percent from last May. The NBC affiliate's late news dropped 29 percent from May 1998, when Channel 5 almost tied Channel 12 for second in the month that Seinfeld signed off.

        The May ratings solidified Channel 12's hold on the news rating crown, after years of Channels 12 and 9 being neck-to-neck.

        “We had been seeing us pull ahead in our research for several years, and the (meter) ratings finally began to show it about a year ago,” said Steve Minium, Channel 12 news director.

        Channel 12's strength is being “very consistent in our presentation and in our people. We have a very tenured staff,” he said.

        Rob Braun and Kit Andrews have more tenure at 11 p.m. than any other late news co-anchor team. Reporters Deborah Dixon and Howard Ain have more than 20 years of experience here, while meteorologist Tim Hedrick and reporters Rich Jaffe and Jeff Hirsh have more than 10 years.

        Channel 12 also won all head-to-head newscasts: 6-7 a.m., noon and 5-6:30 p.m.

        Ratings were so high for Channel 12's 6-7 a.m. news (7.5) that it equaled the combined ratings for morning news on Channel 9 (3.2), Channel 5 (2.3), and Channel 19 (2.0).

        The trend continued at 7 a.m., with Channel 12's mostly local news beating NBC's Today, ABC's Good Morning America and Channel 19's 19 in the Morning. Channel 12's huge audience pushed Bryant Gumbel's struggling CBS Early Show into first place here for the two-hour average, over Today and GMA.

        At 4 p.m., Oprah Winfrey rebounded from an awful year to win with a 5.7 rating. Oprah was third in February, behind Channel 12's local news and Inside Edition, and Channel 5's pairing of Judge Judy and Judge Joe Brown.

        David Letterman's Late Show continued to draw more viewers than Jay Leno's Tonight Show here, as he has since returning Feb. 21 from heart surgery.

        ABC programming on Channel 9 won prime-time with a 12.3 rating. Next were CBS shows on Channel 12 (10.1), NBC/Channel 5 (9.3), Fox/Channel 19 (5.8) and WB/Channel 64 (5.0).

        Fox news: Michael J. Fox fans won't have to wait long for repeats of Spin City. WSTR-TV (Channel 64) will air reruns twice daily starting in September.

        Channel 64 news: Channel 64 General Manager Bill Pulliam will retire July 7 and move to Hawaii with his wife and son.

        Ellen's news: During her comedy concert in Cincinnati last week, Ellen DeGeneres announced that CBS wants her to host a Carol Burnett-style comedy-variety series for midseason.

        New boss: Gail Berman, executive producer of Malcolm in the Middle and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, has been named Fox Entertainment president. She replaces Doug Herzog, the former Comedy Central executive who quit in March after 14 months.


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