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Fox4/NBC5 continue to win most of the battles in May newscast "sweeps" wars

@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Fox4 remained in charge of the early morning newscast ratings while NBC5 swept the early evening races during a four-week May ratings “sweeps” period in which TEGNA8 barely hung on to its 10 p.m. total viewers crown while CBS11 never came close in any of the four major battlegrounds.

But the bigger prize at 10 p.m., a win among 25-to-54-year-olds, again went to Fox4. The station first rose to the top spot last May, drawing the most 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming) for the first time since the station switched from CBS to Fox affiliation in July 1995. Fox4 now has won four in a row after also topping the 10 p.m. field in the November and February sweeps.

CBS11 evaded finishing last across the board by taking third place in total viewers at 10 p.m., with Fox4 falling from the penthouse to the outhouse. But the local news bosses remain transfixed by the 25-to-54-year-old demographic, which can bring more revenue bang. And in that realm, Nielsen Media Research says that Fox4 and NBC are the reigning lords and masters.

Here are the complete May 2016 results in total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, with year-to-year audience losses or gains in parentheses. Note: ratings are calculated in three decimals (0.000) to break ties in extremely close races. Each ratings point in the D-FW market is worth 70,824 total viewers and 29,763 viewers in the 25-to-54 age range.

10 P.M.

Total Viewers
TEGNA8 -- 166,507 (minus 43,131)
NBC5 -- 163,533 (minus 4,610)
CBS11 -- 143,773 ( minus 37,202)
Fox4 -- 131,237 (minus 13,822)

Fox4 -- 60,657 (minus 20,511)
NBC5 -- 56,490 (minus 13,446)
TEGNA8 -- 54,407 (minus 26,672)
CBS11 -- 35,150 (minus 5,004)

Comments: As noted in last year’s sweeps ratings report, May 2015 was a worse weather month than usual. And when that happens, audiences still flock to their home screens for live updates from meteorologists and on-the-scene reporters in various states of composure. So it’s no coincidence that all four stations enjoyed year-to-year ratings increases in the May 2015 sweeps. This time they’re all losers, with TEGNA8 suffering the biggest shortfalls in both ratings measurements. The ABC network’s meager audience lead-ins on most nights -- particularly in the total viewers measurement -- aren’t of any help to TEGNA8. But the station continues to wear cement shoes in the ongoing battle to stop the bleeding. In that respect, NBC5 “won” by losing the fewest total viewers at 10 p.m. while CBS11 had the smallest year-to-year drop among 25-to-54-year-olds. But in CBS11’s case, it’s tough to go much lower when you already have so few 25-to-54-year-olds to lose.

6 A.M.

Total Viewers
Fox4 -- 122,384 (plus 19,308)
NBC5 -- 81,093 (minus 7,756)
TEGNA8 -- 59,775 (minus 7,086)
CBS11 -- 46,815 (minus 8,559)

Fox4 -- 59,258 (plus 2,776)
NBC5 -- 46,043 (plus 9,326)
TEGNA8 -- 21,042 (minus 2,517)
CBS11 -- 13,959 (minus 9,600)

Comments: The rich just got richer, with dominant Fox4 the only station to show year-to-year increases in both ratings measurements. Permanency and a solid format remain the keys, with the veteran Good Day team of Tim Ryan, Lauren Przybyl, Evan Andrews and Chip Waggoner continuing to wear very well. NBC5 made some strides, though, in the 25-to-54 demographic, showing the biggest year-to-year increase. TEGNA8 and CBS11 fell farther behind, with both stations drawing less than half the number of 25-to-54-year-olds pulled in by Fox4 and runner-up NBC5. It’s been written here before, but CBS11’s decision to scramble its early morning team came at a time when the station had genuine momentum and finished third for the first time ever last May in the key 25-to-54 demographic. TEGNA8 news director Carolyn Mungo, whose station continues to struggle, figuratively lights a candle in thanks to CBS11 news director Mike Garber, who orchestrated the puzzling early morning moves that helped to drive his station back into a distant last place. In May 2015, CBS11 was the only station to show a year-to-year increase with 25-to-54-year-olds. A year later, it’s showing the biggest losses.

6 P.M.

Total Viewers
NBC5 -- 148,022 (plus 4,637)
TEGNA8 -- 136,053 (minus 5,728)
Fox4 -- 116,151 (minus 9,102)
CBS11 -- 102,553 (minus 58,965)

NBC5 -- 61,609 (plus 12,150)
Fox4 -- 42,978 (minus 10,867)
TEGNA8 -- 40,180 (minus 63)
CBS11 -- 20,894 (minus 10,044)

Comments: NBC5, the runner-up in both contests last May, rose to a pair of first-place finishes this time out. It also is the only station to show year-to-year increases in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds. CBS11, which won in total viewers a year ago by a fairly comfortable margin, plunged to last place and lost an eye-popping 58,965 viewers in the process. Fox4, last May’s 25-to-54 champ in a close fight with NBC5, ceded major ground to the Peacock while barely holding off TEGNA8 for second place.

5 P.M.

Total Viewers
NBC5 -- 136,619 (minus 4,535)
Fox4 -- 134,141 (plus 17,326)
TEGNA8 -- 95,471 (minus 15,625)
CBS11 -- 84,635 (minus 18,232)

NBC5 -- 48,395 (minus 1,064)
Fox4 -- 42,918 (minus 585)
TEGNA8 -- 27,680 (minus 1,987)
CBS11 -- 17,828 (minus 5,524)

Comments: NBC5 defended its May 2015 crowns while losing only a marginal number of viewers in the year-to-year Nielsens. But Fox4 knocked on the door in total viewers with a significant increase from last May. TEGNA8 and CBS11 were non-factors and the biggest year-to-year bleeders in both measurements.

In other May sweeps ratings of note:

***Fox4’s 9 p.m. local newscasts decisively beat competing programming on ABC, CBS and NBC in total viewers, 25-to-54-year-olds and 18-to-49-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for entertainment programming). Its 181,309 total viewers and 76,283 in the 25-to-54 demographic were more than any other local newscast drew in the May sweeps. That’s an unparallelled success story in this market.

***NBC5 cemented its late afternoon/early evening newscast dominance by easily winning the three-way competition at 4 p.m. in both total viewers and among 25-to-54-year-olds. CBS11 was the runner-up in both measurements and TEGNA8 lagged.

***Did CBS11 have any bright spots at all? Yes. Its half-hour 11 a.m. newscast won in total viewers against competing entertainment programming and tied the first half of NBC5’s one-hour local newscast in the 25-to-54 age range.

***The NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt trounced the ABC and CBS network newscasts in both ratings measurements while Fox4’s 5:30 p.m. local news ran third in total viewers and second with 25-to-54-year-olds.

***TEGNA8’s homegrown Good Morning Texas ran fourth at 9 a.m. in total viewers against competing network and syndicated entertainment programming on Fox4, NBC5 and CBS11. GMT moved up a spot to third place with 18-to-49-year-olds, beating CBS’ double dose of Let’s Make A Deal. But GMT more than pays for itself by charging various entities to pitch their products in five-minute segments.

***CBS11’s sister station, TXA21, is doing some solid late night business with its 10:30 p.m. to midnight block of Mike and Molly and King of Queens repeats. They ran first throughout those 90 minutes among 25-to-54-year-olds, beating the NBC, CBS and ABC late night talk shows and Fox4’s mix of Modern Family, TMZ and Dish Nation. TXA21 also ranked No. 1 among 18-to-49-year-olds during those 90 minutes. What the what?

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