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No big shakeups in May sweeps

Friday, May 24, 2002

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

The big ratings news to come out of May sweeps: There is no big news.

Graphic: TV News Ratings


Each station continues to own its slice of the market, with WTAE on top at 6 a.m., WPXI leading at 5 and 11 p.m. and KDKA on top at 6 p.m. and a competitive second at 11 p.m. That's pretty much how local ratings typically shake out.

The only noticeable trend from a year ago was a ratings increase in many time slots as more people appeared to be watching television.

During sweeps month a station's viewership is measured to set future advertising rates. The ratings released yesterday by Nielsen Media Research are household ratings that reflect more a measure of popularity rather than a basis for advertising rates. TV commercials are generally sold on demographic ratings, which won't be available for several weeks.

At 6 a.m., WTAE's new all-female anchor team of Wendy Bell and Kelly Frey won the hour, with the station's ratings up from a year ago. WPXI came in second, KDKA third, with ratings down slightly from a year ago.

In the battle of the national morning shows, ABC's "Good Morning America" came in a typical first with NBC's "Today" second and CBS's "The Early Show" third.

At noon, KDKA won as always with WTAE second and WPXI third. All three stations saw their ratings at noon rise by several points from a year ago.

Among the 4 p.m. shows, considered important lead-ins to the news at 5, WPXI's "Judge Judy" was on top, followed by WTAE's "Oprah Winfrey Show," which had a slim advantage over KDKA's "Rosie O'Donnell Show."

In its ratings book, Nielsen flags contests, including those during evening newscasts on WPXI and WTAE, because they may influence ratings. Lottery drawings on KDKA, which may also influence ratings, are not flagged because they're telecast year-round rather than only during sweeps months.

At 5 p.m., WPXI came in first, WTAE was second and KDKA was third. Again, ratings for all three stations were up from a year ago.

KDKA ranked first at 6 p.m. with WPXI second and WTAE third and all saw ratings rise from a year ago.

At 6:30, the second half of KDKA's one-hour newscast ranked first, with "NBC Nightly News" second and ABC's "World News Tonight" third.

At 7 p.m., WPXI's "Jeopardy!" ranked first, but "CBS Evening News" was close behind in second and WTAE's "Inside Edition" third and "Friends" reruns on WPGH fourth.

WPXI's "Wheel of Fortune" was on top at 7:30 p.m., followed by WTAE's "Entertainment Tonight," KDKA's "Hollywood Squares," WPGH's "Seinfeld" reruns and WNPA's "Everybody Loves Raymond" reruns. WQED's "On Q" had the same rating as a year ago, placing seventh.

In prime-time, KDKA's CBS lineup barely eked out a win over WPXI's NBC lineup. WTAE's ratings mirrored ABC nationally, placing a distant third. WPGH's Fox programs came in fourth, WCWB's WB lineup ranked fifth and WNPA's UPN shows came in sixth.

At 10 p.m., WPGH's news was on par with its ratings a year ago despite competition from WNPA's newscast, which began last summer. Ratings for WNPA were identical to what the newscast achieved in February, though down slightly from ratings for "Star Trek: Voyager" reruns that aired in the time slot a year ago.

WPXI won the competition at 11 p.m., with KDKA second and WTAE third. Both WPXI and KDKA saw their numbers rise compared to a year ago, while WTAE's ratings were down.

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