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Tuned In: Pittsburgh drops to 22 in Nielsen TV rankings

Saturday, August 23, 2003

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

Pittsburgh's television market rank, as determined by ratings company Nielsen Media Research, keeps slip-sliding away.

In new market rankings for Jan. 1, 2004, announced yesterday, Pittsburgh dropped from No. 21 to No. 22 out of 210 markets nationwide. Five years ago Pittsburgh ranked No. 19, and it was once among the Top 10 television markets in the country.

The drop doesn't come as a huge shock; one local TV executive long has said Pittsburgh will ultimately settle at around No. 25.

And the drop isn't related to a decline in the number of "television homes," the measuring stick used by Nielsen. Pittsburgh's TV homes actually grew from 1,165,660 in 2003 to 1,175,410 in 2004.

But Pittsburgh was bypassed by St. Louis, which grew by about 46,000 TV homes from year to year.

"While we are growing, other markets are growing more rapidly," said Jay Rossi, media supervisor at Ten United ad agency. He said some national advertisers will buy ads strictly in the Top 20 markets, but the fallout from Pittsburgh's departure from the Top 20 several years ago never got as bad as many had expected it would.

"We've been facing it for the last two years and from the buying side, the market is still chugging right along in the advertising world," Rossi said. "The drop-off has occurred, but it hasn't been as bad as a lot of people thought it would be."

National advertisers have done more targeted marketing that's less concerned with market rank, Rossi said.

The drop in market rank may have a larger effect on perception. Where Pittsburgh was once considered a destination for someone working in the TV business, it's now more likely to be seen as a stepping stone to larger markets.

Barnett to WFOR

KDKA morning anchor Susan Barnett, who's moving to Florida to be closer to her fiance, has landed as a job as weekend anchor/reporter at WFOR, KDKA's sister station in Miami.

Another 'On Q' spin-off

First "On Q" spun off talking head-fest "Off Q." Now it's the launching pad for a second series: "Dave & Dave's Excellent Adventures," which will premiere with a one-hour special at 8 p.m. Sept. 4 on WQED/WQEX. The show will normally air at 11:30 p.m. Saturday beginning Sept. 6.

The show will be hosted, produced and edited by Dave Hallewell and Dave Rhodes, WQED staffers.

Episodes will be comprised of "Dave & Dave" segments that have already aired on "On Q" with new material and outtakes that together fit in a theme for each episode. The pair will also continue to contribute to "On Q" several times a month.

WTAE health expo

Channel 4's "Healthy 4 Life" Expo will be held from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. today at the ExpoMart in Monroeville.

Jack LaLanne will appear on stage at 1 and 6 p.m. Colavita "Love Chef" from "Live with Regis & Kelly" will offer cooking demonstrations at 12 and 5 p.m. A casting call for ABC's "Extreme Makeover" will also be held.

Admission is free.

Wither 'Monk'?

Some viewers are concerned about the seemingly short season for USA Network's "Monk," which wrapped up last night.

Here's the scoop: USA ordered 16 new episodes, but rather than running them all this summer, it aired 9 and will save seven for January so viewers won't have to wait until next summer for new episodes.

'24' marathon on FX

Cable network FX will air a 24-hour marathon of the second season of Fox's "24" beginning at midnight Aug. 31. All 24 episodes will air in a row.

Channel surfing

USA Network has renewed "The Dead Zone" for a third season... NBC looks likely to renew "The Restaurant," according to Daily Variety, but it may be back without chef Rocco DiSpirito, replacing him with a different celebrity chef.

You can reach Rob Owen at 412-263-2582 or Post questions or comments to under TV Forum.

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