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May sweeps: Fox4, WFAA8 are biggest winners while CBS11 touts year-to-year growth and NBC5 survives

WFAA8 reigned in the late night D-FW news wars while Fox4 romped through the early mornings in the May 2013 ratings “sweeps,” which ended Wednesday after 20 weekdays of warfare.

Both stations reclaimed titles they lost last May, with WFAA8 dethroning CBS11 in the total viewer Nielsens and Fox4 knocking NBC5 from the overall top spot at 6 a.m.

The 5 and 6 p.m. results were split, with three of the four stations getting a win in one of the two major ratings measurements. CBS11 is the only station to show year-to-year growth in all four major battlegrounds. And some of its growth spurts were eye-popping.

Here are the breakdowns, with ratings again taken to the third digit (.000) in order to break ties in either total viewers or 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming). Gains or losses from May 2012 are shown in parentheses.

10 P.M.

Total Viewers
WFAA8 -- 218,986 (plus 32,544)
CBS11 -- 202,671 (plus 6,358)
Fox4 -- 138,304 (plus 19,690)
NBC5 -- 95,966 (minus 32,471)

WFAA8 -- 93,249 (plus 18,920)
Fox4 -- 75,541 (plus 7,711)
CBS11 -- 62,722 (plus 4,943)
NBC5 -- 47,429 (minus 10,560)

Comments: WFAA8’s performance was as stellar as NBC5’s was dismal. The Peacock suffered from the overall horrid prime-time performance of its network in the 9 p.m. hour, with its 9:45 to 10 p.m. lead-ins easily the market’s worst. CBS11 again inherited the best lead-in from its network, but WFAA8 was close behind in the total viewers it received from ABC.

WFAA8 otherwise had a clear advantage over its rivals among 25-to-54-year-olds while the closing 15 minutes of Fox4’s 9 p.m. local newscast and CBS entertainment programming tied for a distant second. NBC5 finished third at 10 p.m. in both measurements last May but this time ran completely out of the money with significant losses of audience. Lead-ins continue to play key roles in a station’s well-being despite remote controls at the ready. NBC5 (as well as Fox4 and CBS11) is owned-and-operated by its network. So any public complaining would result in 50 lashes -- or worse.

6 A.M.

Total Viewers
Fox4 -- 134,999 (plus 41,923)
WFAA8 -- 85,571 (plus 421)
NBC5 -- 77,447 (minus 18,512)
CBS11 -- 64,987 (plus 34,426)

Fox 4 -- 76,435 (plus 25,066
NBC5 -- 43,673 (minus 2,429)
WFAA8 -- 40,453 (minus 5,649)
CBS11 -- 25,846 (plus 10,890)

Comments: Fox4 has become a Colossus at this hour, even with regular co-anchor Lauren Przybyl on maternity leave for part of the May sweeps. The station also won the less-watched 4:30 to 6 a.m. segments by comfortable margins in both ratings measurements while CBS11 surprisingly ran second across the board in those 90 minutes.

On the downside, WFAA8 has lost the considerable momentum it had a year ago, particularly in the key 25-to-54 demographic. Perhaps the show has gotten too slap-happy? NBC5 fell from first to third in total viewers, but moved ahead of WFAA8 among 25-to-54-year-olds. CBS11 has replaced WFAA8 as the new station with momentum mojo in the early mornings -- at least among the also-rans. But it will be hard for anyone to catch Fox4, No. 1 by blowout margins with D-FW’s biggest viewer gains.

6 P.M.

Total Viewers
CBS11 -- 157,442 (plus 47,498)
WFAA8 -- 153,931 (plus 13,098)
NBC5 -- 114,691 (plus 3,122)
Fox4 -- 104,020 (plus 579)

Fox4 -- 49,367 (minus 2,483)
WFAA8 -- 49,129 (minus 284)
NBC5 -- 37,592 (plus 9,515)
CBS11 -- 29,632 (plus 15,157)

Comments: CBS11 impressively moved from third to first in total viewers with a mammoth audience increase compared to rival stations. And although still running last with 25-to-54-year-olds, it more than doubled its audience in this measurement. Fox4 kept its 25-to-54 crown by a paper-thin margin over WFAA8, with both stations slipping a bit year-to-year. NBC5’s pair of third-place finishes were offset somewhat by its audience increases, particularly with 25-to-54-year-olds.

5 P.M.

Total Viewers
NBC5 -- 107,394 (minus 16,098)
WFAA8 -- 103,470 (minus 13,003)
Fox4 -- 98,926 (minus 7,021)
CBS11 -- 91,422 (plus 32,691)

Fox4 -- 39,380 (minus 9,822)
NBC5 -- 36,071 (minus 101)
WFAA8 -- 32,256 (minus 12,733)
CBS11 -- 23,282 (plus 8,296)

Comments; And the last shall be first. CBS11 logged another pair of fourth-place finishes, but was the only station to show year-to-year audience increases. NBC5 and Fox4 respectively won the total viewer and 25-to-54 competitions while suffering significant viewer depreciations. WFAA8 also took it on the chin in both ratings measurements.


*** Fox4’s 9 p.m. local newscast averaged 173,964 total viewers and 81,175 in the key 25-to-54 demographic. Both marks exceeded the audience levels for its 6 a.m. or 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts. The 9 p.m. edition also had more total viewers than the NBC network at that hour and beat both NBC and CBS among 25-to-54-year-olds. And among 18-to-49-year-olds (main advertiser target for entertainment programming), Fox4 finished just a hair behind No. 1 ABC.

In the pauper division, CW33’s 9 p.m. Nightcap newscast averaged 11,015 total viewers, with 5,903 of them 25-to-54-year-olds and 6,379 in the 18-to-49 age range.

*** Nightcap was a ratings Gulliver, though, compared to KTXD-TV’s (Ch. 47) locally produced programming. D magazine’s 9 to 11 a.m. weekday D: The Broadcast averaged 1,101 total viewers (in a market of 6.84 million). The 6 p.m. edition of KTXD’s The Texas Daily drew 2,960 viewers while the 9:3 p.m. encore edition had 2,616.

D: The Broadcast’s principal local competition, WFAA8’s 9 to 10 a.m. Good Morning Texas, averaged 48,189 viewers in that hour. Fox4’s syndicated Kelly & Michael and NBC5’s third hour of Today tied for the overall 9 a.m. lead with 61,958 viewers. Kelly & Michael was tops with 18-to-49-year-olds while GMT fell to a third-place tie with CBS’ Let’s Make a Deal.

*** NBC5’s local First At Four newscast led the 4 p.m. parade with 89,495 total viewers, beating CBS11’s second-place local edition (75,726 viewers). WFAA8’s syndicated Katie ran fourth overall, tying the first half-hour of Fox4’s long-running and now slumping Judge Judy but finishing fourth from 4:30 to 5 p.m. Katie moved up to third, ahead of CBS11’s news, in both the 25-to-54 and 18-to-49 measurement.

*** At 6:30 p.m., CBS11’s syndicated Wheel of Fortune continued to roll in total viewers, drawing more than twice as many -- 247,831 to 117,031 -- as WFAA8’s Entertainment Tonight. Fox4’s Access Hollywood won among 18-to-49-year-olds, with Wheel the runner-up.

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