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Ch.7 weakness hurts ABC news and late night programs here

By Alan Pergament

When it comes to ratings for network news and late-night programs, Western New York is as strange as a 75-degree day here in early January.

During the November sweeps nationally, ABC’s "Good Morning America" was No.1 over NBC's "Today" in the morning. ABC's "World News with Diane Sawyer" was a strong No.2 to "NBC's Nightly News with Brian Williams" in the early evening. In late night, ABC's  "Jimmy Kimmel Live" was within 168,000 viewers of CBS' "Late Night with David Letterman" for second place to NBC's first place "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and beats Letterman in the key 18 through 49 demographic.

None of those positive ABC stories is happening here, primarily because WKBW-TV is such a weak ABC affiliate and viewers here are slow to change national viewing habits.

Let's take a quick look at the local ratings in all three network time periods during the recently-concluded November sweeps:

7 a.m. to 9 a.m. weekdays: "Today" on Channel 2: 5.8; "CBS This Morning" on Channel 4, 4.6; "Good Morning America" on Channel 7, 4.1.

While it has fallen behind "GMA" nationally, "Today" is still No.1 here, although it slipped from 7.2 a year ago.

The big morning story here is the new strength of the more news-oriented "CBS This Morning," which took most of the loss of "Today" here and rose a full ratings point from a year ago when it was in third place in the market.

"GMA" has the same rating this November on Channel 7 as it did a year ago and that’s actually good news considering its lead-in from Channel 7's "Good Morning" has dropped by about a third.

"GMA" received even better news when the demographics arrived. It narrowly is ahead of "CBS This Morning" here for second place among viewers 18-49 and 25-54, which indicates most of CBS' gains here are with older viewers.

The collective morning audience is much higher here than it is nationally.

6:30 p.m. weeknights: "NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams" on Channel 2 (10.3); "The CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley”"(7.8), “World News with Diane Sawyer” (5.2). Williams' newscast also is a big demographic winner here, getting higher numbers than the competitors get combined.

While Sawyer’s newscast is narrowing the household gap nationally with Williams’ newscast, once again the weakness of Channel 7 at 6 p.m. is a problem for ABC. Pelley is in second place here, but his newscast has lost seven-tenths of a point from a year ago, largely because Channel 4 slipped to second place at 6 p.m. this November behind Channel 2 after winning there a year ago.

Collectively, the audience here for the nightly news far exceeds the national average, partly because WNY has more older viewers who are the main audience for the network newscasts as evidenced by all the advertisements for products dealing with aging.

11:35 p.m. weeknights: "Letterman" is No. 1 with a 4.5 on Channel 4; "Leno" is No.2 with a 4.4 on Channel 2 and "Kimmel" is No.3 at 1.9 on Channel 7.

Letterman and Leno actually switched positions a year ago, when Leno won by a tenth of a point. Kimmel wasn't on at 11:35 p.m. in November. His show replaced "Nightline" there in January of 2013. The move is helping ABC nationally, but Buffalo is a different animal. Kimmel's rating is a big drop from the 3.3 that "Nightline" had here in November of 2012.

It is a different demographic story. Leno is a decisive No.1 among viewers age 18-49 and 25-54 here over Letterman and third-place Kimmel has improved in both categories over "Nightline" from a year ago.


Television | TV news
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About Talkin' TV

Alan Pergament

Alan Pergament

Alan Pergament has continued to blog about television topics since retiring in 2010 as The News' television writer after 28 years on the beat. From local on-air personalities to ratings to the latest on network and cable programming, he keeps you informed.

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