powered by FreeFind

Apple iTunes


Firsts for all in February "sweeps," but Fox4 sweeps the key newscast demographic

@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Fox4 won the overall February “sweeps” war with winning numbers across the board in the key 25-to-54-year-old newscast demographic. Competitors NBC5, WFAA8 and CBS11 all saved some face by winning one battle apiece.

CBS11 repeated as the 10 p.m. champ in total viewers, WFAA8 ran first in that measurement at 6 p.m. after a winless November across the board and NBC5 chipped in by drawing the biggest crowd at 5 p.m. Fox4 was the big dog, though, particularly at 6 a.m., where it was the only station to score twin wins.

Here are the complete February 2019 sweeps results. (Note to readers: The February 2018 finishes weren’t reported on unclebarky.com because NBC’s Winter Olympics coverage significantly skewed the results, particularly at 10 p.m. So the plus and minus audience differences date back two years ago to the February 2017 sweeps.)

10 P.M.

Total Viewers
CBS11 -- 154,645 (plus 23,765)
WFAA8 -- 133,557 (minus 26,407)
Fox4 -- 119,498 (plus 17,703)
NBC5 -- 112,469 (minus 25,682)

Fox4 -- 45,816 (plus 3,722)
WFAA8 -- 42,953 (plus 3,866)
CBS11 -- 31,499 (plus 4,439)
NBC5 -- 25,772 (minus 22,335)

Comments: Anchor John McCaa’s heavily celebrated last month on the air, dovetailing with a big promotional push for his successor, Chris Lawrence, weren’t enough to propel WFAA8 to a 10 p.m. win in either ratings measurement. Instead, in stark contrast, Doug Dunbar continued his solo flight, propelling CBS11 to a 10 p.m. win in total viewers while the station presumably still searches for someone to join him. It’s now been 10 months and counting since anchor Kaley O’Kelley left CBS11 and headed to Phoenix, where she’s now anchoring early morning newscasts.

CBS11 benefited from the best 9:45 to 10 p.m. lead-in from CBS entertainment programming while WFAA8 inherited the overall smallest audiences from ABC. Still, two sweeps wins in a row with Dunbar alone in “The Chair” is a significant turn of events. Two Februarys ago, CBS11 ran a fairly distant third in total viewers behind WFAA8. This time around, the station had the most significant gain in viewers while WFAA8 lost the most among the four competing stations.

Meanwhile, NBC5 has dug a big ditch for itself, running last in both ratings measurements while also losing 20,000+ viewers two times around. Fox4 climbed from second to first place with 25-to-54-year-olds and also improved a notch, from last to third place in the total viewer Nielsens.

6 A.M.

Total Viewers
Fox4 -- 126,527 (plus 39,274)
WFAA8 -- 63,264 (minus 2,176)
NBC5 -- 56,234 (minus 16,477)
CBS11 -- 35,147 (minus 8,480)

Fox4 -- 65,861 (plus 20,760)
WFAA8 -- 28,635 (plus 1,575)
NBC5 -- 17,181 (minus 21,906)
CBS11 -- 11,454 (minus 573)

Comments: Fox4 is still Gulliver while the rest are Lilliputians. The station drew twice as many viewers as runner-up WFAA in both ratings measurements. As in November, Fox4 again won each and every one of the 20 weekdays (although it took a President’s Day holiday exemption). The station hasn’t lost a single skirmish since March 30th of last year. That’s unprecedented dominance.

Two years ago, a competitive NBC5 notched two second-place finishes while running less than 6,000 viewers behind Fox4 among 25-to-54-year-olds. In the February sweeps, the gap between Fox4 and third-place NBC5 was nearly 50,000 viewers in the 25-to-54 realm.

NBC5 made co-anchor Marc Fein the sacrificial lamb earlier in February by not renewing his contract. Whether that was a wise move remains to be seen. For now, NBC5 isn’t a factor at all at 6 a.m. while WFAA8 at least has climbed from third to second place in both ratings measurements from where it was two years ago.

6 P.M.

Total Viewers
WFAA8 -- 154,645 (plus 16,494)
NBC5/CBS11 -- 133,557 (minus 11,865/plus 31,762)
Fox4 -- 119,498 (plus 24,974)

Fox4 -- 45,816 (plus 12,738)
WFAA8 -- 40,089 (plus 7,011)
NBC5 -- 31,499 (minus 13,602)
CBS11 -- 22,908 (minus 4,152)

Comments: McCaa at least got a consolation prize, with WFAA8 winning in total viewers and running a solid second among 25-to-54-year-olds. In February 2017, the station respectively finished second and third. Fox4 remained in charge of the 25-to-54 demo after a November win. Not to beat a dead Peacock, but NBC5 again hemorrhaged viewers after winning both 6 p.m. battles two Februarys ago.

5 P.M.

Total Viewers
NBC5 -- 133,557 (plus 24,490)
Fox4 -- 126,527 (plus 24,732)
WFAA8 -- 98,410 (plus 3,886)
CBS11 -- 77,322 (plus 4,611)

Fox4 -- 37,226 (plus 4,148)
NBC5 -- 28,635 (minus 4,443)
WFAA8 -- 17,181 (minus 3,866)
CBS11 -- 14,318 (minus 716)

Comments: NBC’s lone bright spot is a 5 p.m. win in total viewers, plus a sizable increase from two years ago, when the station also led at 5 p.m.

Interestingly, all four stations showed increases in total viewers from two years ago. The 5 p.m. newscasts have long been considered the least consequential, but perhaps there’s a bit of a growth spurt in play.

Bottom line: NBC5 clearly had the worst of it in February while Fox4 again flexed its strength in the news demographic of most interest to advertisers. But WFAA8 and CBS11 can cite their strong winning performances in the 6 and 10 p.m. total viewers races. They’d rather be No. 1 with 25-to-54-year-olds, but that’s still Fox4’s strength and their weakness.

In Other Ratings of Note --

*** Fox4’s 9 p.m. local newscast remained a formidable ratings draw, running second by a sliver to CBS entertainment programming in total viewers at that hour but notching comfortable wins with both 18-to-49-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for entertainment programming) and 25-to-54-year-olds.

***NBC5’s 4 p.m. newscast continued to outdraw its WFAA8 and CBS11 rivals in total viewers and with 25-to-54-year-olds. The only non-news programming among the four stations, Fox4’s syndicated double dose of Judge Judy, ran a very close second in total viewers while beating NBC5 in the 25-to-54 realm.

*** CBS11’s syndicated Wheel of Fortune is still decimating the competing three 6:30 p.m. rag mags in total viewers but also won its time slot among both 18-to-49ers and 25-to-54-year-olds. Skewing old? Not in this market.

***Besides trampling the competition at 6 a.m., the 7 to 10 a.m. extension of Fox4’s Good Day remained on a big roll, beating all competing network and local programming in total viewers and the two audience groups preferred by most advertisers. Fox4 laps up all of the advertising revenue from Good Day while NBC5, WFAA8 and CBS11 collect comparative peanuts from the small advertising windows available to them on Today, Good Morning America and CBS This Morning.

***Fox4’s locally produced Free 4 All, airing from 10:30 to 11 p.m and hosted by sports anchor Mike Doocy, ran fourth in total viewers (but not that far behind) the first half-hours of the late night talkers on CBS, ABC and NBC. CBS’ Late Show with Stephen Colbert led the way.

But Free 4 All perked up to No. 1 among 25-to-54-year-olds and ran a strong second to ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live in the 18-to-49-year-old demographic. Those are the numbers of most interest to Fox4, and any other station for that matter.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net