powered by FreeFind

Apple iTunes


Squeezing through: Nielsen shows CBS11 beating WFAA8 by a speck for its first 10 p.m. news win in total viewers while WFAA8 declares it a tie (updated)

CBS11 is first at 10 p.m. in total viewers for the first time in a ratings "sweeps" period. WFAA8 wins with advertiser-favored 25-to-54-year-olds and otherwise claims first-place tie. Photos: Ed Bark

No matter how it's sliced, CBS11's 10 p.m. news win in total viewers is less than paper thin.

In fact, WFAA8 is insisting it's a flat-out tie.

"We are so far within the margin of (statistical) error that it's absolutely ludicrous to talk about a winner or loser," WFAA8 president and general manager Mike Devlin said Monday. "It's a tie. I don't think it's accurate reporting to say somebody won or lost."

"That sounds like they didn't win," CBS11 president and general manager Steve Mauldin fired back. "A win is a win. Absolutely it's close. No one said it wasn't. But it's absolutely a win, and it's a big win. It certainly is not a dead heat."

The CBS-owned station's inaugural triumph in the late night news wars (whether judged as a win or a tie for first place) marks the first time since the November 2006 sweeps that WFAA8 hasn't won outright. NBC5 won that ratings period before WFAA8 began its streak in the February 2007 sweeps.

WFAA8 continued to run first among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

"In all the key demos that really relate to revenue, we clearly are No. 1 (at 10 p.m.)," Devlin said. "And that is despite them having an enormous lead-in advantage over us (from CBS entertainment programming). "They're a wind-aided television station."

Mauldin agreed that CBS11 should have won earlier at 10 p.m. than it has.

"I'm just really excited to win now," he said. "I think they're a good news organization, but I'm really not interested in their excuses. I'm more focused on what we're doing. The last time I checked, we won it. Whether we won by a big nose or a big chest, we hit the tape first."

The 10 p.m. total viewers race was so close that we're going to break it down all the way to three decimal points. We'll also give you the Live+3 numbers, which slightly increase each station's overall average for the 20 weekdays of the sweeps. Live+3 measures recorded viewing over a three-day period.

Here are the final 10 p.m. total viewer numbers before Live+3 is averaged in. Each rating point equals 67,863 viewers under revised estimates issued this fall by Nielsen Media Research.

CBS11 -- 3.364 rating (228,291 viewers)
WFAA8 -- 3.329 rating (225,916 viewers)
NBC5 -- 2.046 rating (138,848 viewers)
Fox4 -- 1.112 rating (75,464 viewers)

Here are the Live+3 numbers, which give CBS11 a bit more breathing room:

CBS11 -- 3.525 rating (239,217 viewers)
WFAA8 -- 3.448 rating (233,992 viewers)
NBC5 -- 2.178 rating (147,806 viewers)
Fox4 -- 1.133 rating (76,889 viewers)

As in previous sweeps periods, CBS11 again benefited from a sizable prime-time lead-in advantage. The 9:45 to 10 p.m. portion of CBS entertainment programming averaged 283,667 same-night viewers while competing shows on ABC averaged 195,106 viewers during those 15 minutes.

NBC's The Jay Leno Show limped toward 10 p.m. with an average of just 118,489 viewers for its closing 15 minutes. Fox4's 9 p.m. local newscast averaged 80,689 viewers from 9:45 to 10 p.m.

Although it finished a very distant third, NBC5 did manage to improve on its lowly lead-in from Leno. WFAA8 as usual also upped its 10 p.m. news audience from its ABC inheritance.

WFAA8 finished comfortably on top at 10 p.m. in November 2008 with an average of 292,292 viewers while CBS11 ran second with 239,148. (Each rating point equaled 66,430 viewers a year ago compared to 67,863 now.)

In other local news sweeps results, WFAA8 won by a more comfortable margin at 10 p.m. among 25-to-54-year-olds, with CBS11 a close, competitive second.

NBC5 dethroned Fox4 at 6 a.m. with first place finishes in both ratings measurements. WFAA8 likewise ran the table at 6 p.m., retaining its crowns from a year ago. The 5 p.m. golds were split between WFAA8 in total viewers and Fox4 among 25-to-54-year-olds.

This marked the first sweeps period in which all four major news competitors won at least one battle. CBS11's breakthrough at 10 p.m. is tempered by the fact that it finished last in the other three time periods, save for a third-place showing in total viewers at 6 p.m.

"We still have a lot of work to do in a lot of areas," Mauldin acknowledged.

Here are the other November sweeps ratings results, using the Live+3 numbers:

10 p.m.

WFAA8 -- 3.443 rating (105,666 viewers)
CBS11 -- 3.138 rating (96,305 viewers)
NBC5 -- 2.406 rating (73,840 viewers)
Fox4 -- 1.481 rating (45,452 viewers)

6 A.M.

NBC5 -- 1.827 rating (123,986 viewers)
Fox4 -- 1.525 rating (103,491 viewers)
WFAA8 -- 1.244 rating (84,422 viewers)
CBS11 -- .669 rating (45,400 viewers)

NBC5 -- 2.312 rating (70,955 viewers)
Fox4 -- 2.179 rating (66,874 viewers)
WFAA8 -- 1.625 rating (49,871 viewers)
CBS11 -- .899 rating (27,590 viewers)

6 P.M.

WFAA8 -- 2.467 rating (167,418 viewers)
NBC5 -- 1.682 rating (114,146 viewers)
CBS11 -- 1.395 rating (94,669 viewers)
Fox4 -- 1.354 rating (91,887 viewers)

WFAA8 -- 2.060 rating (63,221 viewers)
Fox4 -- 1.521 rating (46,679 viewers)
NBC5 -- 1.445 rating (44,347 viewers)
CBS11 -- 1.069 rating (32,808 viewers)

5 P.M.

WFAA8 -- 1.733 rating (117,607 viewers)
NBC5 -- 1.522 rating (103,287 viewers)
Fox4 -- 1.458 rating (98,944 viewers)
CBS11 -- 1.084 rating (73,563 viewers)

Fox4 -- 1.798 rating (55,181 viewers)
WFAA8 -- 1.459 rating (44,777 viewers)
NBC5 -- 1.318 rating (40,449 viewers)
CBS11 -- .750 rating (23,018 viewers)

In other November sweeps ratings of note:

***Univision23's Spanish language Noticias 23 local newscast ran fourth at 10 p.m. in total viewers, beating Fox4. It moved up to third place with 25-to-54-year-olds, outdrawing both Fox4 and NBC5.

The 5 p.m. edition of Noticias 23 also placed fourth in total viewers, ahead of CBS11. And it moved up to second place among 25-to-54-year-olds, trailing only Fox4 by a narrow margin.

***Among prime-time local newscasts, Fox4 averaged 93,855 total viewers at 9 p.m. opposite The 33's comparatively paltry 24,906 viewers for its local news hour. But The 33 outdrew both hours of TXA21's "First In Prime" newscast, which had 20,223 viewers from 7 to 8 p.m. and 13,980 from 8 to 9 p.m. The 33 also had more viewers in the 25-to-54 age range than TXA21.

***The previously noted late night news lead-in of 118,489 viewers for NBC's Leno show contrasts with 159,432 viewers for Peacock programming in November 2008. Most local Peacock stations aren't happy. But when you're owned and operated by NBC Universal, as NBC5 is, it's both fruitless and suicidal to complain publicly.

***The Live+3 numbers for prime-time lead-in programming show some pretty dramatic differences for the offerings on ABC and CBS. In other words, increasing numbers of viewers are DVR-ing, TiVo-ing or VCR-ing these programs.

Here's a look:

CBS' 9:45 to 10 p.m. lead-in audience jumped from 283,667 total viewers to 373,043 under the Live+3 measurement.

ABC's lead-in audience increased from 195,106 to 257,296.

There was nothing this dramatic for Leno or Fox4's 9 p.m. newscasts.

Leno had 118,489 same-night viewers from 9:45 to 10 p.m. He nudged up to 126,429 in the Live+3 averages.

Fox4's local newscasts had a minimal bump, too, from 80,689 to 82,182.