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May "sweeps" finals: CBS11 makes it a 10 p.m. threepeat in total viewers while Fox4 again sweeps 25-to-54-year-old demographic

@unclebarkycom on Twitter
CBS11 has logged a full TV season’s worth of 10 p.m. “sweeps” wins by reigning in May with total viewers after also winning November and February.

Meanwhile, Fox4 repeated last May’s four-bagger in the key 25-to-54-year-old demographic (main advertiser target audience for news programming) while NBC5 and WFAA8 joined CBS11 in logging one win apiece.

Here are the complete results of Nielsen Media Research’s latest report card, with year-to-year audience gains or losses in parentheses.

10 P.M.

Total Viewers
CBS11 -- 147,615 (plus 19,419)
WFAA8 -- 140,586 (plus 5,266)
NBC5 -- 119,498 (minus 8,698)
Fox4 -- 112,469 (minus 1,485)

Fox4 -- 51,543 (plus 1,541)
NBC5/WFAA8 -- 34,362 apiece (minus 3,875 & plus 2,008 respectively)
CBS11 -- 31,499 (plus 2,086)

Comments: CBS11 now has gone a full year without hiring anyone to replace anchor Doug Dunbar’s desk mate, Kaley O’Kelley, who’s now anchoring early mornings in Phoenix. No problem. Dunbar has soloed his way through three straight sweeps periods, with CBS11 winning all of them in total viewers. Not only that, the station recorded the biggest year-to-year gains in this measurement while also picking up a couple of thousand 25-to-54-year-olds.

The CBS network continues to provide the strongest total viewer lead-ins with its 9 p.m. entertainment programming. So that doesn’t hurt at all. In contrast, WFAA8 deserves credit for finishing a close second in total viewers despite worst-in-the-market lead-ins from ABC entertainment attractions. May also marked Chris Lawrence’s first sweeps month as longtime anchor John McCaa’s successor.

Fox4 again ran last in total viewers but again won by a solid margin in the 25-to-54 demographic most important to station bean-counters. This is a big face-saver for elder stateswoman Clarice Tinsley. Her 10 p.m. edition basically is a condensed version of Fox4’s one-hour 9 p.m. news, which continues to roll opposite network entertainment programming.

NBC5 is the only station to lose viewers in both ratings measurements from a year ago. That’s not a good look.

6 A.M.

Total Viewers
Fox4 -- 105,440 (minus 8,514)
WFAA8 -- 70,293 (plus 6,194)
NBC5 -- 49,205 (minus 14,894)
CBS11 -- 35,147 (minus 7,586)

Fox4 -- 54,407 (minus 7,360)
WFAA8 -- 34,362 (plus 2,008)
NBC5/CBS11 -- 14,318 apiece (minus 9,032 & minus 6,262 respectively)

Comments: Fox4’s Good Day continues to win by relatively comfortable margins, but WFAA8 lately is moving on up while making this a two-station race in both of the main audience measurements. It’s the only station to show year-to-year audience gains, with May being the first sweeps month without co-anchor Ron Corning, who left after an eight-year tenure on Daybreak.

NBC5 in particular has fallen off the map in the early mornings, and now has a two-woman anchor team after staffer Laura Harris replaced Marc Fein and joined veteran incumbent Deborah Ferguson. In the May 2018 sweeps, the Peacock tied WFAA8 for a distant second place in total viewers. Pulling into a third-place tie with NBC5 in the 25-to-54 barometer counts as a moral victory for CBS11.

6 P.M.

Total Viewers
WFAA8 -- 140,586 (plus 19,510)
NBC5 -- 133,557 (plus 12,481)
Fox4 -- 119,498 (plus 12,666)
CBS11 -- 112,469 (plus 5,637)

Fox4 -- 51,543 (plus 10,365)
NBC5/WFAA8 -- 34,362 apiece (plus 4,949 & plus 16,714 respectively)
CBS11 -- 22,908 (plus 2,319)

Comments: All four stations can throw confetti in the air for showing year-to-year improvements in both ratings measurements. But WFAA8 can add a full-blown ice cream social for logging the biggest rebound. The station particularly improved among 25-to-54-year-olds after finishing a disastrous last a year ago.

5 P.M.

Total Viewers
NBC5 -- 126,527 (plus 5,451)
Fox4 -- 119,498 (plus 19,789)
WFAA8 -- 112,469 (plus 27,004)
CBS11 -- 56,234 (minus 14,987)

Fox4 -- 37,226 (plus 7,813)
NBC5 -- 28,635 (plus 2,163)
WFAA8 -- 17,181 (plus 5,419)
CBS11 -- 11,454 (minus 6,194)

Comments: This is the least important of the four battlegrounds, but CBS11 still has to wonder what hit it. The station lost substantial ground in both measurements while its three rivals all showed year-to-year improvements. NBC5 and Fox4 both defended their crowns from last May.

In other May sweeps ratings highlights:

*** Fox4’s 9 p.m. news routed the competing network programming among 18-to-49-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for entertainment fare) and ran a close second to CBS in total viewers. That’s quite an achievement.

*** At 4 p.m., NBC5 continued to run a comfy first in total viewers against one-hour local editions on WFAA and CBS11. But Fox4’s double dose of the syndicated Judge Judy won the 4 p.m. hour by solid margins with both 25-to-54-year-olds and 18-to-49ers.

*** CBS11’s syndicated Wheel of Fortune rolled anew with 6:30 p.m. sweeps in total viewers and both of the younger viewer measurements. WFAA8 continues to pay for making the worst programming decision in D-FW history by dumping Wheel back in 2005 because station management thought it skewed too old in comparison to its replacement part, Entertainment Tonight. In the 14 years since, Wheel hosts Pat Sajak and Vanna White have both survived high-definition and continued to whip ET and the two other competing entertainment rag mags.

*** The network evening newscasts are supposed to be dinosaurs, right? Not exactly. Although airing at a time (5:30 p.m.) when the viewing pool is considerably smaller, both NBC’s Nightly News and ABC’s World News Tonight averaged more total viewers than their respective network’s 7 to 10 p.m. slates of prime-time entertainment programming. And it’s not even close, with World News Tonight flexing the biggest gap by drawing 175,733 viewers per edition while ABC’s prime-time lineup averaged 91,381 viewers.

*** Fox4’s 7 to 10 a.m. portion of Good Day continued to dominate all competing network and local programming, winning in total viewers and with both younger audience measurements. This is what is known as a cash cow.

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