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Fox4/NBC5 again score the most newscast wins while TEGNA8 retains 10 p.m. total viewers crown in tightly fought May "sweeps"

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The May “sweeps” newscast spoils again were split among three stations, but with the victory margins thinner compared to a year ago while audiences continued to fall off.

Fox4 repeated its 6 a.m. sweep and also again won at 10 p.m. in the key 25-to-54-year-old demographic (main advertiser target audience for news programming). NBC5 had twin wins at 5 and 6 p.m., while TEGNA8’s lone victory was a defense of last May’s 10 p.m. title in total viewers.

CBS11 again went scoreless, particularly with 25-to-54-year-olds. But the station came close to outpointing TEGNA8 in total viewers at 10 p.m. and might well have done so had the CBS network saved some of its big season finales for the final six days of the sweeps instead of exhausting most of its ammunition by mid-May. More than its rivals, CBS11 is dependent on sizable 9 p.m. network lead-ins to goose the ratings for its late night newscasts.

Here are the complete May 2017 sweeps results in total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, with year-to-year audience losses or gains in parentheses.

10 P.M.

Total Viewers
TEGNA8 -- 159,964 (minus 6,543)
CBS11 -- 152,693 (plus 8,920)
NBC5 -- 145,422 (minus 18,111)
Fox4 -- 101,795 (minus 29,442)

Fox4 -- 48,107 (minus 12,550)
TEGNA8 -- 42,094 (minus 12,313)
NBC5 -- 39,087 (minus 17,403)
CBS11 -- 30,067 (minus 5,083)

Comments: Across-the-board shortfalls in the bread-buttering 25-to-54 age range mark the second straight year that’s happened. And CBS11 was the only station to show an increase from May 2016 in total viewers. The weather didn’t “cooperate.” It again was relatively uneventful compared to May 2015, when all four stations got ratings bumps from stormy skies. TEGNA8 deserves some credit for trying to differentiate itself with longer-form “Original” stories throughout the sweeps. But some of them were too gimmicky, and the station soiled itself down the stretch by paying a highly questionable source for secret audio tapes tied to alleged absentee voter fraud. NBC5 and CBS11 also were pitched the same “story,” but didn’t bite.

6 A.M.

Total Viewers
Fox4 -- 94,524 (minus 27,860)
NBC5 -- 79,982 (minus 1,111)
TEGNA8 -- 65,440 (plus 5,665)
CBS11 -- 50,898 (plus 4,083)

Fox4 -- 51,114 (minus 8,144)
NBC5 -- 36,080 (minus 9,963)
TEGNA8 -- 27,060 (plus 6,018)
CBS11 -- 15,034 (plus 1,075)

Comments: It was the same order of finish as last year in both ratings measurements. Still, TEGNA8 flashed a little momentum after getting off to a fast start while CBS11 made smaller year-to-year gains while still running far out of the money. Fox4 remains in charge, but its grip loosened, particularly in total viewers.

6 P.M.

Total Viewers
NBC5 -- 130,880 (minus 17,142)
TEGNA8 -- 123,609 (minus 12,444)
CBS11 -- 109,067 (plus 6,514)
Fox4 -- 87,253 (minus 28,898)

NBC5 -- 33,374 (minus 28,235)
Fox4 -- 32,172 (minus 10,806)
TEGNA8 -- 30,067 (minus 10,113)
CBS11 -- 18,040 (minus 2,854)

Comments: -- The 6 p.m. race among 25-to-54-year-olds had to be extended to an extra ratings decimal to determine a winner. It was that close (1.11 to 1.07). But Fox4 also can claim at least a moral victory after trailing NBC5 by almost 19,000 viewers a year ago. On the other hand, Fox4 hemorrhaged total viewers, falling from third place last year to last place this time out.

5 P.M.

Total Viewers
NBC5 -- 123,609 (minus 13,010)
TEGNA8 -- 101,795 (plus 6,324)
Fox4 -- 94,524 (minus 39,617)
CBS11 -- 65,440 (minus 19,195)

NBC5 -- 36,080 (minus 12,315)
Fox4 -- 30,067 (minus 12,851)
TEGNA8 -- 21,047 (minus 6,633)
CBS11 -- 12,027 (minus 5,801)

Comments: Pee-yew, particularly in the 25-to-54-year-old demographic, where all four stations again had diminishing returns. Fox4 had the worst time of it in both measurements while still managing a second place finish among 25-to-54-year-olds. But in a D-FW market with a population of 3,006,700 viewers in the 25-to-54 age range, the four stations managed to collectively lure only 99,221 of them to their early evening newscasts.

In other May sweeps ratings of note:

***NBC5 won the three-way local newscast race at 4 p.m. in both ratings measurements. Fox4’s double dose of the syndicated Judge Judy edged the Peacock in total viewers but trailed among 25-to-54-year-olds.

***TEGNA8’s Good Morning Texas continues to more than pay for itself with built-in pay-for-play mini-infomercials. Otherwise, the program ran fourth in total viewers in the 9 a.m. hour (with the third hour of NBC’s Today on top). In the 18-to-49-year-old demographic (main advertiser target audience for entertainment programming), GMT moved up to third place from 9 to 9:30 a.m., nipping CBS’ competing Let’s Make a Deal. GMT then slipped to fourth from 9:30 to 10 a.m., with Deal barely in third.

***The venerable Wheel of Fortune, now in its 108th season (heh-heh), again easily won the 6:30 p.m. slot in total viewers against the competing syndicated rag mags on Fox4, NBC5 and TEGNA8. Pat and Vanna also held their own with 18-to-49-year-olds, tying NBC5’s Extra for the top spot.

***CBS’ Trump-bashing Late Show with Stephen Colbert tied Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show in total viewers, with ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live close behind. But Colbert fell to third place with 18-to-49-year-olds, although he wasn’t far behind Fallon and Kimmel.

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