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Fox4 leads May "sweeps" with five firsts, including wall-to-wall wins in key 25-to-54-year-old news demographic

@unclebarkycom on Twitter
After a throwaway February in which the Winter Olympics skewed newscast ratings, the four-week “sweeps” returned for keeps in May, with Fox4 winning the most gold medals.

The station ran first among 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming) in all four of the four-way competitions while also cruising to another 6 a.m. victory in total viewers. In last May’s festivities, Fox4 had three wins.

Adding extra frosting, Fox4’s local newscasts also outdrew all network programming among 25-to-54-year-olds from 7 to 9 a.m. and from 9 to 10 p.m.

TEGNA8 retained its 10 p.m. crown in total viewers by nipping NBC5 and CBS11 by one-tenth of a rating point. The other sweeps wins in total viewers went to NBC5 at 5 p.m. and the Peacock and TEGNA8 in a statistical tie at 6 p.m.

NBC5 swept the 5 and 6 p.m. competitions in May 2017. CBS11 again was shut out, but was near the top in total viewers at both 6 and 10 p.m.

Here are the complete May 2018 sweeps results in total viewers and with 25-to-54-year-olds. Year-to-year audience gains or losses are in parentheses.

10 P.M.

Total Viewers
TEGNA8 -- 135,320 (minus 24,644)
NBC5/CBS11 -- 128,196 apiece (minus 17,226 and 24,496 respectively)
Fox4 -- 113,954 (plus 12,159)

Fox4 -- 50,002 (plus 1,895)
NBC5 -- 38,237 (minus 850)
TEGNA8 -- 32,354 (minus 9,740)
CBS11 -- 29,413 (minus 654)

Comments -- TEGNA8 hemorrhaged 25-to-54-year-olds compared to its rivals. In fact, the station’s 6 to 7 a.m. hour of Daybreak equaled the 10 p.m. performance in the news world’s most “desirable” demographic. NBC5 moved up in both competitions from a year ago, when it had a pair of thirds. But the station still lost viewers year-to-year. Fox4 is the only station on the plus side with both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds.

6 A.M.

Total Viewers
Fox4 -- 113,954 (plus 19,430)
NBC5/TEGNA8 -- 64,099 apiece (minus 15,883 and 1,341 respectively)
CBS11 -- 42,733 (minus 8,165)

Fox4 -- 61,767 (plus 10,653)
TEGNA8 -- 32,354 (plus 5,294)
NBC5 -- 23,530 (minus 12,550)
CBS11 -- 20,580 (plus 5,546)

Comments -- Fox4’s performance remains extraordinary, with sizable year-to-year increases in both audience measurements and no single-day losses in either throughout the 20 weekdays of the sweeps. NBC5 in contrast fell hard with significant audience losses while TEGNA8 jumped into second place with 25-to-54-year-olds and tied the plucked Peacock in total viewers. TEGNA8 lost a relative handful of total viewers. But in the 25-to-54 demographic that supersedes it, the station had a decent-sized pickup. TEGNA8’s notably ramped-up “social media” content could be a factor in Daybreak’s rise. Or perhaps, dare it be said, a number of younger viewers simply like watching the new bevy of young, attractive women joining holdover vets Ron Corning and Greg Fields. Oddly enough, though, Fox4 and CBS11 made no changes of note and still had bigger increases of 25-to-54-year-olds than TEGNA8 did. So let’s see what the November sweeps bring in local TV’s most interesting time period.

6 P.M.

Total Viewers
NBC5/TEGNA8 -- 121,076 apiece (minus 9,804 and 2,533 respectively)
Fox4/CBS11 -- 106,832 apiece (plus 19,579 and minus 2,235 respectively)

Fox4 -- 41,178 (plus 9,006)
NBC5 -- 29,413 (minus 3,961)
CBS11 -- 20,589 (plus 2,549)
TEGNA8 -- 17,648 (minus 12,419)

Comments -- Although placing third among 25-to-54-year-olds, CBS11 had a major rebound from a year ago, when it ran a distant last in this measurement. At the other end of the ratings teeter totter, TEGNA8 logged a disastrous showing with 25-to-54-year-olds, losing more than 40 percent of its viewers from May 2017. Fox4 blew past last May’s 25-to-54 champ, NBC5, by gaining 9,006 viewers while the Peacock lost 3,961.

5 P.M.

Total Viewers
NBC5 -- 121,076 (minus 2,533)
Fox4 -- 99,709 (plus 5,185)
TEGNA8 -- 85,465 (minus 16,330)
CBS11 -- 71,221 (plus 5,781)

Fox4 -- 29,413 (minus 654)
NBC5 -- 26,472 (minus 9,608)
CBS11 -- 17,648 (plus 5,621)
TEGNA8 -- 11,762 (minus 9,285)

Comments -- Fox4 wrested the 25-to-54-year-old crown from NBC5 by losing an inconsequential number of viewers while the Peacock lost more than any of its rivals. CBS11 also moved up a notch from May 2017 while TEGNA8 is starting to skew older in the early evening than some of sports anchor Dale Hansen’s ties.

So, taking into account year-to-year plusses and losses, Fox4 clearly had the best ratings “book” while NBC5 edged TEGNA8 for the worst performance by being the only station to lose viewers year-to-year in all eight competitions. TEGNA8 wasn’t much better, dropping viewers from May 2017 in seven of the eight competitions while Fox4 showed audience gains in seven of the four-way battles and lost just a teensy number of them at 5 p.m. among 25-to-54-year-olds.

Although again coming up with no wins, CBS11 gets the silver medal by showing year-to-year viewer gains in four of the eight competitions. And at both 5 and 6 p.m., the station moved out of last place in the 25-to-54 demographic by trading places with TEGNA8.

In other May sweeps ratings results:

*** NBC5’s one bright spot is at 4 p.m., where it handily whipped the competing one-hour newscasts on TEGNA8 and CBS11 in both total viewers and with 25-to-54-year-olds.

***CBS11’s syndicated Wheel of Fortune keeps rolling at 6:30 p.m., where it crunched the competing rag mags on Fox4, NBC5 and TEGNA8 with decisive wins in both ratings measurements.

***TEGNA8’s homegrown Good Morning Texas ran third in total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds from 9 to 10 a.m. behind CBS’ double dose of Let’s Make A Deal and Fox4’s syndicated Live with Kelly and Ryan. But GMT subsists mainly on pay-for-play mini-infomercials, and remains a moneymaker.

***At 5:30 p.m., the NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt outdrew ABC’s and CBS’ competing newscast while also beating Fox4’s local news in both ratings measurements.

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