powered by FreeFind

Apple iTunes


February sweeps fini: Belo8 makes big inroads at 10 p.m., 6 a.m.

Belo8's first ratings sweeps month in its new Victory Park studios has proved prophetic.

The ABC station ended NBC5's long reign of 10 p.m. newscast wins in total homes and also beat the Peacock at 6 a.m. among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

A year ago, when a new electronic measuring system completely replaced handwritten diaries, Belo8 placed second at 10 p.m., just slightly ahead of CBS11. And it was a distant third at 6 a.m. in both homes and the 25-54 demo.

Belo8 also won in the two main audience measurements at 5 and 6 p.m., logging its best sweeps book in several years. NBC5 claimed the other two victories, edging Belo8 with 25-to-54-year-olds at 10 p.m. and beating Fox4 at 6 a.m. in homes.

Kathy Clements, Belo8's president and general manager, said the station's investments in high-definition and Victory Park added to the momentum that's been building for the past year.

"I think everything finally came together for us," she said in a telephone interview Thursday. "We have the buzz, we have the excitement, we have the contemporary feel."

The Peacock's 10 p.m. winning streak in homes had dated to February 2002, when NBC's Winter Olympics telecasts helped it beat Belo8. NBC5 hadn't been defeated in 15 consecutive sweeps periods, which are tabulated annually in February, May and November.

Five Februarys later, NBC5's bait-and-switch, flash-and-trash news approach finally may have hit the wall. The station also had less help from Peacock network lead-ins, with Thursday night's ER no longer the mega-hit it used to be.

Here are the February sweeps Nielsen ratings results in the four major local newscast time periods, with gains or losses from February 2006 in parentheses:

10 p.m.

Total Homes
Belo 8 -- 207,060 (+16,660)
NBC5 -- 195,160 (-14,280)
CBS11 -- 140,420 (-38,080)
Fox4 -- 102,340 (-14,280)

NBC5 -- 146,370 (-28,700)
Belo8 -- 132,020 (-5,740)
CBS11 -- 68,880 (-37,310)
Fox4 -- 66,010 (-28,700)

6 a.m.

Total Homes
NBC5 -- 109,480 (-4,760)
Fox4 -- 99,960 (-11,900)
Belo8 -- 92,820 (+14,280)
CBS11 -- 38,080 (no change)

Belo8 -- 68,880 (+22,960)
Fox4 -- 66,010 (-20,090)
NBC5 -- 60,270 (-2,870)
CBS11 -- 22,960 (no change)

6 p.m.

Total Homes
Belo8 -- 159,460 (+4,760)
NBC5 -- 128,520 (+2,380)
CBS11 -- 111,860 (-23,800)
Fox4 -- 88,060 (-16,660)

Belo8 -- 77,490 (-2,870)
NBC5 -- 66,010 (+8,610)
Fox4 -- 54,530 (-20,090)
CBS11 -- 34,440 (-8,610)

5 p.m.

Total Homes
Belo8 -- 154,700 (-7,140)
NBC5 -- 119,000 (+14,280)
Fox4 -- 80,920 (-23,800)
CBS11 -- 61,880 (-21,420)

Belo8 -- 77,490 (-14,350)
NBC5 -- 51,660 (+8,610)
Fox4 -- 37,310 (-22,960)
CBS11 -- 20,090 (-5,740)

These year-to-year ups and downs show that Fox4 was hit the hardest among the four stations while CBS11 fell out of contention at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Fox4's only bright spot was its 9 p.m. local newscasts, which averaged a very competitive 166,600 homes with help from ultra-potent American Idol lead-ins on some nights. That was good enough to beat a variety of NBC prime-time programming (158,865 homes) from 9 to 10 p.m.

In other ratings highlights:

***CBS11's Wheel of Fortune handily prevailed in total homes at 6:30 p.m. against three competing, Anna Nicole Smith-obsessed TV rags -- Entertainment Tonight, Extra and Access Hollywood. But ET was tops with 18-to-49-year-olds, the key advertiser target audience for entertainment programming.

***The third hour of NBC's Today won in homes at 9 a.m. in an extremely tight fight among Fox4's runnerup Live with Regis & Kelly, Belo8's homegrown Good Morning Texas and CBS11's Rachael Ray. But Regis & Kelly placed first with 18-to-49-year-olds, followed closely by GMT.

***The Price Is Right on CBS edged ABC's competing The View in total homes at 10 a.m. But the two shows switched places among 18-to-49-year-olds.

***In the network dinner hour news race, ABC's World News with Charles Gibson placed first in homes and with 25-to-54-year-olds. The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric finished fourth in both measurements.