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Good news for Ch.2 News in sweeps

By Alan Pergament

It is no surprise that Channel 2 News dominated in the early morning and early evening time periods during the just-concluded May sweeps.

The trends of the first three weeks were reported here and nothing much changed in the final week.

Once again, I'll try to keep the numbers to a minimum even though once upon a time I was a math major.

Channel 2 holds a decisive lead over Channel 4 at 5 a.m., 6 a.m. and from 5 p.m. through 6:30 p.m.

News 4 Buffalo continues to hold big leads at 10 p.m. and 11 p.m.

And Channel 7's Eyewitness News continues to be a weak third in all time periods but 11 p.m., where it is within a point of Channel 2 for second place. 

But there are some viewing trends to take note of in May.

For one thing, more viewers are watching at 5 a.m. and fewer viewers are watching at 5 p.m.

The combined rating of the Big Three at 5 a.m. was 8.8, which was 25 percent higher than it was a year ago. And all three stations saw 5 a.m. increases.

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The combined rating at 5 p.m. was 16.6, which was about 15 percent lower than the 19.3 rating a year ago. And all three stations saw 5 p.m. decreases. Channel 4 dropped about 20 percent at 5 p.m. from a year ago.

There are a couple of other interesting things to note.

In the first big sweeps since Melissa Holmes took over for Jodi Johnston as John Beard's co-anchor on Channel 2's "Daybreak" and Channel 4 introduced its new "Wake Up" anchor team of Diana Fairbanks and Jordan Williams, both stations had something to be happy about.

The ratings for "Daybreak" and "Wake Up" at 5 a.m and 6 a.m. both saw increases from a year ago. "Daybreak" went up by a full point at 5 a.m. to expand its lead over "Wake Up" at that hour. The margin of victory for "Daybreak" at 6 a.m. is slightly higher than it was a year ago.

In the first sweeps since Channel 2's 10 p.m. newscast moved from little-watched Sinclair station WNYO to Sinclair's Fox affiliate WUTV, Channel 4's 10 O'Clock News on sister station WNLO-TV with Don Postles remains dominant. However, both stations have something to be happy about at 10. Channel 4's ratings at 10 p.m. increased by about 10 percent from a year ago. Channel 2's ratings increased by more than 80 percent at 10. However, it is much easier to have high percentage gains when your ratings are low. Channel 4 wins at 10 by a 4.9-2.9 margin.

All three stations saw increases at 6 p.m. Channel 2, which was in a statistical tie with Channel 4 at 6 p.m. a year ago, now has a wider lead there.

At 11 p.m., second place Channel 2 and third place Channel 7 saw gains, while Channel 4 remained flat from a year ago.

Of course, the full story of the May sweeps isn't told until the demographics arrive in a few weeks because they help determine advertising rates. Stay tuned.

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Television | TV news
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