Pittsburgh, Pa.
Contact Search Subscribe Classifieds Lifestyle A & E Sports News Home
A&E Recipes  Media Kit  Personals 
Tv Listings
The Dining Guide
Headlines by E-mail
Every station wins something in sweeps

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

By Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

In a local news ratings race as tight as Pittsburgh's, every station can claim a sweeps victory of some sort.

WTAE is crowing about coming in first place at 5 p.m. and beating KDKA by a hair for the No. 1 spot at 6 p.m. (when rounded up, it's a tie). But Channel 4, which usually wins in the mornings, came in second to WPXI at 6 a.m.

KDKA took the top spot at noon, as usual, and also won at 11 p.m. by a wider than usual margin.

During sweeps month, a station's viewership is measured to set future advertising rates.

Ratings released last week by Nielsen Media Research for the November sweeps are household ratings that are more a measure of popularity than a basis for ad rates. TV commercials are generally sold on demographic ratings, which won't be available for several weeks.

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, not only during sweeps.

A rating represents the percentage of TV households watching and a share represents the percentage of TV sets in use. The rating is listed first, followed by the share.

Compared to a year ago, WTAE's ratings were down sharply in the morning (6.4/24 in November 2002 compared to 5.2/19 this year) while KDKA (4.0/15 last year, 4.4/16 this year) and WPXI (5.4/20 last year, 6.1/23 this year) were both up.

Similarly, ratings for "Today" on WPXI were up, while "Good Morning America" on WTAE was down from a year ago. At noon, KDKA (9.9/28 last year, 9.7/27 this year) and WPXI (4.1/12 last year, 3.9/11 this year) were down and WTAE (5.1/15 last year, 6.4/18 this year) was up.

At 5 p.m., KDKA was down (8.9/17 last year, 8.3/15 this year) and WPXI (8.2/15 last year, 9.4/17 this year) and WTAE (9.9/19 last year, 10.6/20 this year) were up. That trend persisted at 6 p.m., where KDKA was down (11.2/20 last year, 10.7/18 this year) and WPXI (8.6/15 last year, 9.9/17 this year) and WTAE (9.7/17 last year, 10.7/18 this year) were up.

But at 11 p.m., KDKA's ratings rose significantly, widening its lead (12.8/22 last year, 13.9/23 this year). WPXI (11.7/20 last year, 11.9/20 this year) and WTAE (10.2/18 last year, 10.3/18 this year) were pretty much on par with a year ago.

In the 10 p.m. news battle, the decision to reinvent WPGH's newscast with content from News Central in suburban Baltimore drove viewers away. Channel 53 went from 3.6/5 last year to 2.9/4 this year, allowing the 10 p.m. news on WNPA to gain a little ground (1.1/2 last year, 1.4/2 this year).

Among new syndicated series, "Ellen" at 11 a.m. weekdays on WPXI ranked third, but improved the time period ratings over "The Caroline Rhea Show" last year. "The Wayne Brady Show," weekday afternoons on Channel 11, had slightly lower ratings than the game show block that aired in that time period a year ago.

At 9 a.m., KDKA's new newscast improved on the performance of syndicated series last November (2.1/7 last year, 2.8/9 this year), but the new 10 a.m. syndicated series "Living It Up with Jack & Ali" fell below the ratings of "Martha Stewart Living" last year (2.2/7 last year, 1.9/6 this year).

Ratings for KDKA's 4 p.m. news dropped (7.0/15 last year, 5.8/13 this year), "Judge Judy" on WPXI was up (7.5/17 last year, 7.9/17 this year) and "The Oprah Winfrey Show" on WTAE grew (6.5/14 last year, 8.4/18 this year).

Ratings for WNPA's evening comedy block were up from a year ago, as were UPN's ratings in prime time (1.4/2 last year, 1.6/2 this year). Ratings on WPGH for Fox's prime time were up from a year ago (2.8/4 last year, 3.2/4 this year), as were ratings on WCWB for The WB (2.6/4 last year, 3.0/4 this year).

At 7:30 p.m., "Entertainment Tonight" on WTAE bested perpetual time slot winner "Wheel of Fortune" on WPXI.

In late night, CBS's "Late Show with David Letterman" remains the leader, although both "Late Show" (6.3/15 last year, 7.2/16 this year) and NBC's "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" (5.6/14 last year, 6.3/14 this year) posted ratings increases from a year ago.

TV Editor Rob Owen can be reached at or 412-263-2582. Post questions or comments to under TV Forum.

E-mail this story E-mail this story  Print this story Printer-friendly page

Search |  Contact Us |  Site Map |  Terms of Use |  Privacy Policy |  Advertise |  About Us |  What's New |  Help |  Corrections
Copyright ©1997-2007 PG Publishing Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved.