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Fox4 scores big first and CBS11 has major moral "victory" in D-FW's May "sweeps" newscast ratings

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Veteran anchors Clarice Tinsley of Fox4 and Karen Borta of CBS11.

@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Two stations made ratings history for themselves, both at the expense of the same competitor, in final results for D-FW’s May “sweeps” newscast competitions.

For the first time since the July 1995 switchover from CBS affiliation, Fox4 topped the 10 p.m. field in the key 25-to-54-year-old demographic (main advertiser target audience for news programming). The margin of victory was exceedingly slim over Gannett8, with three decimal points needed to break a first-place tie.

We’ve been using the three decimal system throughout our “sweeps” ratings reports to determine which station actually had the most viewers. In this case, Fox4 ended with a 2.739 rating (81,168 viewers in the 25-to-54 measurement) while Gannett8 had a 2.736 rating (81,079 viewers).

In the 6 a.m. competitions, CBS11 moved out of fourth place for the first time in its history by ranking third among 25-to-54-year-olds. The victim again was Gannett8, with CBS11 prevailing by a score of 25,693 viewers to 23,559.

In the four major four-way competitions at 6 a.m. and 5, 6 and 10 p.m., Fox4 had the most wins with four in the total viewers and 25-to-54 measurements. NBC5 logged two first-place finishes and Gannett8 and CBS11 had one apiece.

The “sweeps” sweeps came at 6 a.m. and 5 p.m., with Fox4 and NBC5 respectively winning both ratings battles. Gannett8 kept its 10 p.m. championship in total viewers after also topping the field in May 2014. CBS11 vaulted ahead of NBC5 to win at 6 p.m. in total viewers.

Also of note: Fox4’s 9 p.m. local newscast, squaring off against network entertainment programming on ABC, CBS and NBC, had more total viewers than any of them while also winning by a more comfortable margin with 18-to-49-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for entertainment programming). The ongoing inclement weather didn’t hurt, with all of the local newscasts going super weather-centric down the homestretch of the “sweeps.” Still, this is quite an achievement, even if bad weather invariably means more viewers.

Here are the complete May 2015 sweeps results in total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds. Audience gains or losses from May 2014 are in parentheses. Source: Nielsen Media Research.

10 P.M.

Total Viewers
Gannett8 -- 209,638 (plus 35,159)
CBS11 -- 180,975 (plus 19,989)
NBC5 -- 168,143 (plus 25,052)
Fox4 -- 145,059 (plus 21,354)

Fox4 -- 81,168 (plus 12,674)
Gannett8 -- 81,079 (plus 9,081)
NBC5 -- 69,936 (plus 1,899)
CBS11 -- 40,154 (plus 3,591)

Comments: Consider this. In May 2014, NBC5 was the only station to show year-to-year audience gains. This time around, all four stations were up in both ratings measurements. Why? The weather. It’s still a viewer magnet, which is why local forecasters have replaced news anchors as go-to MVPs on many a night. Not that it has to rain or blow very hard to get them down to their shirtsleeves. A shower and a wind gust in Palo Pinto will do just fine.

Fox4’s 10 p.m. news is solo-anchored by the dean of D-FW news anchors, Clarice Tinsley. She long has vowed to stay on the air forever and a day. The station’s first-ever win at this hour among 25-to-54-year-olds certainly won’t hurt her standing. But in reality, meteorologist Dan Henry and the station’s reporters in the field were the principal playmakers during May’s many stormy nights.

Fox4’s 10 p.m. news also was aided by the lead-in power of the station’s 9 p.m. newscast, which particularly excelled among 18-to-49-year-olds and 25-to-54-year-olds. In contrast, the 9 to 10 p.m. CBS network programming ran fourth in both of those key demographics.

Fox4 still has a problem in the total viewers realm, where it ran a distant last despite gaining more than 21,000 viewers from last May. Gannett8’s last reliable port in the storm is its 10 p.m. news, which won comfortably in total viewers and lost by a sub-tiny margin in the 25-to-54 measurement.

CBS11 continues to be all but comatose among 25-to-54-year-olds, where its total was less than half the hauls of both Fox4 and Gannett8.

6 A.M.

Total Viewers
Fox4 -- 103,076 (minus 19,563)
NBC5 -- 88,849 (minus 22,357)
Gannett8 -- 66,881 (minus 14,571)
CBS11 -- 55,374 (minus 6,265)

Fox4 -- 56,482 (minus 20,544)
NBC5 -- 36,717 (minus 14,877)
CBS11 -- 25,693 (plus 2,384)
Gannett8 -- 23,559 (minus 14,801)

Comments: Once a prime growth area, the 6 a.m. news numbers took an overall major hit, with only CBS11 registering any year-to-year audience gain while Fox4 bled viewers in both measurements while still managing to win by comfy margins.

CBS11’s slow rise in the 25-to-54 demographic began kicking in when former longtime P.M. anchor Karen Borta joined the early shift in January. She and meteorologist Scott Padgett have been the only constants this year, with a new male co-anchor and younger blonde traffic reporter due to arrive in early June.

Gannett8, which bills its early A.M. news as “The Official Show of Morning People,” instead laid an ostrich-sized breakfast egg with the coveted 25-to-54-year-old audience. Long dormant CBS11 ran better than last in the mornings for the first time in the station’s history by outdrawing Gannett8 in this measurement. So while CBS11 nonetheless continues to shuffle its deck, Gannett8 must decide whether a different mix and approach are needed when the new TV season begins in September. If this wasn’t a wake-up call, then nothing will be.

6 P.M.

Total Viewers
CBS11 -- 161,518 (plus 33,482)
NBC5 -- 143,385 (minus 3,967)
Gannett8 -- 141,781 (plus 25,959)
Fox4 -- 125,253 (plus 7,441)

Fox4 -- 53,845 (minus 938)
NBC5 -- 49,459 (plus 1,775)
Gannett8 -- 40,243 (minus 2,441)
CBS11 -- 30,938 (plus 7,264)

Comments: Fox4 and CBS11 shared teeter totter rides by finishing first in one measurement and last in the other. But CBS11 made the best overall year-to-year improvements in both barometers while dethroning last May’s total viewers champ, NBC5.

5 P.M.

Total Viewers
NBC5 -- 141,154 (plus 8,573)
Fox4 -- 116,815 (minus 1,209)
Gannett8 -- 111,096 (plus 24,531)
CBS11 -- 102,867 (minus 1,096)

NBC5 -- 49,459 (plus 14,542)
Fox4 -- 43,503 (minus 1,865)
Gannett8 -- 29,667 (plus 2,976)
CBS11 -- 23,352 (plus 896)

Comments: NBC5 has the clear bragging rights here, retaining its total viewers crown from last May while dethroning Fox4 among 25-to-54-year-olds. Although finishing third in both competitions, Gannett8 improved its standing with year-to-year gains. Fox4 in contrast was the only station to lose viewers in each measurement, but the declines were minimal.


***NBC5’s 4 p.m. newscast ran first in both ratings measurements in a three-way battle with Gannett8 and CBS11. The runners-up in the news division were CBS11 in total viewers and Gannett8 among 25-to-54-year-olds. Fox4, which offers a double dose of Judge Judy from 4 to 5 p.m., ran second in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, beating the newscasts on Gannett8 and CBS11.

***Fox4’s 9 p.m. local newscast bludgeoned CW33’s anchor-less NewsFix at that hour. In total viewers the score was 186,624 to 15,901. Among 25-to-54-year-olds, Fox4 had 85,405 viewers to NewsFix’s 9,661.

***Wheel of Fortune kept rolling at 6:30 p.m. on CBS11, drawing twice as many total viewers (258,038) as any of the three competing entertainment rag mags while also winning by lesser margins with both 25-to-54-year-olds and 18-to-49-year-olds. Gannett8, then owned by Belo, is still paying for willingly coughing up Wheel a decade ago in order to draw a younger audience with Entertainment Tonight. In the May “sweeps” ratings, ET ran fourth in its time period with both 18-to-49-year-olds and 25-to-54-year-olds.

***The NBC Nightly News without Brian Williams and with Lester Holt won in total viewers at 5:30 p.m. opposite ABC’s World News, CBS’ Evening News and Fox4’s local news. It was the same story with 25-to-54-year-olds.

***Fox4’s 7 to 9 a.m. portion of its homegrown Good Day likewise won a doubleheader, beating the three network morning shows in total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Heading on an adventure -- and again leaving lots behind

Long-planned trips sometimes get in the way of best-laid plans. So your friendly content provider will be missing a few things -- including the Mad Men and David Letterman finales -- while away from this grindstone. Some of the networks’ new season announcements, which continue this week, also will have to wait until after Memorial Day. As will the results of the May “sweeps” D-FW newscast wars.

But hey, I’ve left plenty behind, including reviews of the following (with links).

Wayward Pines (Fox) -- Thursday, May 14th.

Bessie (HBO) -- Saturday, May 16th.

Texas Rising (History network) -- Monday, May 25th.

Grace and Frankie (Netflix) -- newly streaming.

You also can find our compendium of vintage David Letterman articles on the Back Channels page. Individual links were posted earlier on Above the Fold.

See you soon and thanks for your continued readership!
Ed Bark

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., May 8-10) -- NBC5's split-screen golf/weather coverage infuriates some but still delivers the numbers

@unclebarkycom on Twitter
My Twitter feed became awash Sunday with people complaining about NBC5 offering split-screen coverage of the final holes of a gripping Players Championship golf tournament and a live rescue of two guys standing on a flood water-engulfed pickup truck.

NBC’s golf coverage got the silent treatment and a much smaller on-screen picture. Still, it was visible to viewers, although certainly not in an optimum way. The D-FW Nielsen ratings nonetheless show that NBC5 remained the runaway station of choice in the early evening opposite more conventional storm coverage on rival stations.

The ratings peaked between 6:30 and 6:45 p.m., when NBC5 drew 439,362 viewers. The station ended up easily winning every 15-minute increment from 6:15 to 7:45 p.m.

Regular network programming kicked back in on all four major TV news providers by 8 p.m., although commercial breaks often were filled by weather updates. CBS’ The Good Wife had the most total viewers in the 8 p.m. hour with 251,064. Fox4’s local 9 p.m. newscast then took over in a big way, dominating its hour with 362,648 viewers. Fox4’s news also crushed the opposition among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds.

On ABC, the 9 p.m. series finale of Revenge ran third in its time slot with 111,584 total viewers and moved up to a very distant second place with 18-to-49-year-olds.

Friday’s prime-time top draws were CBS’ Hawaii Five-0 in total viewers (181,324) and CBS’ The Amazing Race in the 18-to-49 demographic (72,537).

Here are Friday’s local news derby results for the 12th weekday of the May “sweeps,” which end on May 20th.

Gannett8 edged CBS11 for the most total viewers at 10 p.m., but NBC5 won among 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

Fox4 again swept the 6 a.m. competitions, added a doubleheader win at 5 p.m. and had the most 25-to-54-year-olds at 6 p.m. CBS11 won in total viewers at 6 p.m.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed.-Thurs., May 6-7) -- rain reigns

@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Heavy rain, hail and winds in some areas made another mess of network prime-time lineups Thursday.

NBC5 and Gannett8 for the most part stayed with regularly scheduled programming while filling commercial breaks with weather updates. Fox4 and CBS11 punched out a good deal of their 7 to 9 p.m. network fare.

The overall big winner was Fox4’s 9 p.m. local newscast, which rode the inclement weather to one of its biggest ratings ever. A total of 425,414 D-FW viewers tuned in, with 179,767 in the advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-old demographic. The most-watched competing program at that hour, CBS’ Elementary, drew 188,298 total viewers while ABC’s American Crime (just renewed for a second season) was the runner-up among 18-to-49-year-olds with 63,076.

In late night, CBS’ Late Show with David Letterman got an unprecedented twofer. CBS11 initially routed it to sister station TXA21 in favor of continued weather coverage. The mothership station later picked up Letterman in progress while keeping it on TXA21 as well. The combined 125,532 total viewers were enough to pull Late Show into a first-place tie with ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live among the three after-hours talkers. But Kimmel won with 18-to-49-year-olds while Dave again drooped to a distant third.

On Wednesday night, Fox’s 7 to 9 p.m. edition of American Idol won those two hours in total viewers with 258,038. Fox4’s local news then ran first in the 9 p.m. hour with 251,064 viewers. The news and Idol’s last half-hour also took the top spots with 18-to-49-year-olds. But CBS’ Survivor paced that key demographic from 7 to 8 p.m. And ABC’s Modern Family had the most 18-to-49-year-olds from 8 to 8:30 p.m.

Here are the Wednesday-Thursday local news derby results for the 10th and 11th weekdays of the May “sweeps” ratings period, which ends on May 20th.

Wednesday -- Gannett8 had the most total viewers at 10 p.m. while Fox4 nipped the ABC affiliate to take first place among 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

Fox4 as usual swept the 6 a.m. competitions and added twin wins at 5 p.m. Both of the 6 p.m. golds went to NBC5.

Thursday -- Fox4 topped the weather-spiked 10 p.m. competitions in both ratings measurements. The runner-ups were CBS11 in total viewers and NBC5 among 25-to-54-year-olds.

The 6 a.m. golds again went to Fox4 while NBC5 ran the table at 5 p.m. The Peacock also had the most total viewers at 6 p.m., with Fox4 a narrow No. 1 with 25-to-54-year-olds.

Of note: Nine weekdays still remain to be counted. But it’s now going to take a major rally for Gannett8 to get out of the basement in the 6 a.m. battle for 25-to-54-year-olds. CBS11 which has never finished better than last at 6 a.m. in either ratings measurement, drew more than twice as many 25-to-54-year-olds as Gannett8 on Wednesday morning and ran third by a comfy margin in Thursday’s face-off.

CBS11’s 25-to-54 demographics still mostly stink at 5, 6 and 10 p.m. But the key 6 to 7 a.m. portion of its early morning show -- when the biggest viewing pool is available -- is flush with momentum. On Wednesday, CBS11’s 6 a.m. edition had more 25-to-54-year-olds than the station’s 5 or 6 p.m. newscasts.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues., May 5) -- three networks split spoils while ABC comes up empty

@unclebarkycom on Twitter
NBC’s The Voice emerged as Tuesday’s only two-pronged, prime-time winner in the battle for total viewers and advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds.

The 7 to 8 p.m. results show had 362,648 D-FW viewers and 107,229 in the 18-to-49 demographic to lead all programming in both measurements.

CBS’ NCIS: New Orleans won the 8 p.m. hour in total viewers with 313,830, but Fox’s season finale of New Girl won from 8 to 8:30 p.m. among 18-to-49-year-olds (81,999) before NCIS: NO took the 8:30 to 9 p.m. slot in that measurement (56,768 viewers) while Fox’s soon to be canceled fell to 34,692.

The 9 p.m. firsts went to CBS’ Person of Interest in total viewers (195,272) and Fox4’s local newscast in the 18-to-49 realm (69,384).

NBC’s special live, hour-long episode of Undateable ran third at 8 p.m in total viewers and fourth overall with 18-to-49-year-olds. ABC’s best showing was second place showing among 18-to-49-year-olds for its 8 p.m episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..

On Fox Sports Southwest, the Texas Rangers put together their first two-game winning streak of the season by beating the Houston Astros at their place. The game averaged 69,740 total viewers and 47,307 in the 18-to-49 motherlode.

Here are the local news derby results for the ninth weekday of the ongoing May “sweeps” ratings competition, which ends on May 20th.

The 10 p.m. firsts were split between Gannett8 in total viewers and Fox4 in the 25-to-54 demographic (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

Fox4 edged NBC5 for the top spot at 6 a.m. in total viewers but won by a comfortable margin with 25-to-54-year-olds.

The Peacock had the most total viewers at 6 p.m. while Fox4 reigned among 25-to-54-year-olds.

NBC5 also won in total viewers at 5 p.m. and tied Fox4 for the most 25-to-54-year-olds.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net