Chalk up another ratings bonanza for WABC-TV. From morning to night, Channel 7 was the May sweeps leader of the pack. The station outdistanced the competition, either using households as the measuring stick, the key demo adults 25 to 54, or both.
The signature broadcast, Eyewitness News at 11 p.m. with Bill Ritter, Sade Baderwina, Lee Goldberg and Rob Powers, held a 44 percent advantage over the number two among households. WABC increased its lead to 47 percent with the key demo.
The gap was even more pronounced at 6 p.m. when the Ritter, Liz Cho, Goldberg and Powers team obliterated the competition. It was a 57 percent bulge in the households indicator. Channel 7 was equally strong in the key demo, registering better results than any two others newscasts combined.
Although not sustaining it for the entire month, WNBC did come out on top for a few Chuck Scarborough/Sibila Vargas 11 p.m. broadcasts. It was impressive considering where Channel 4 had been in the last few years.
As for the soap opera that is WPIX, the Tribune flagship isn’t bold enough to declare victory. But they are finding positives from the recently concluded sweeps period.
The actual headline from PIX: “Morning News Only Newscast in New York to Grow Audience Year-to-Year.”
The better story in the a.m. is WNYW’s Good Day New York regularly beats everyone, including the network big boys at ABC and NBC.
While Channel 11 cites a 50 percent jump from May 2013 among the key demo, it’s not as impressive due to the perpetually low morning numbers. There was nowhere to go but up.
The station didn’t even bother “spinning” the 10 p.m. newscast in the press release. Sources tell Tuned In that the night time newscast with Tamsen Fadal and Scott Stanford was down from a year ago, and that management is concerned.
News director Mark Effron didn’t focus on that ratings tidbit, shining a positive vibe to staff in meetings last week. But his time may still be running out.
As we reported, Effron likely had until the May sweeps to save his job. That theory is gaining steam. Those in the know at Channel 11 are aware that GM Rich Graziano and Effron are apparently not seeing eye to eye. Tuned In has learned that Graziano has held discussions with several market veterans to succeed Effron as news director. In addition, Graziano, insiders say, may tap a one-time colleague from his Hartford pipeline.
While the Effron era hasn’t officially ended at PIX, we’re told that senior executive producer Amy Waldman is lobbying for the promotion.
Any morning boost may have been directly connected to a contest, where four winners were chosen to have their rent or mortgage paid for a year.
“Instead of doing hard hitting journalism that impacts the viewers, we chose to be gimmicky, throwing cash and electronics at them,” a WPIX insider says. “Proving upper management had no faith in the product going into May.”