Examining the May Sweeps: Overall Win for WABC, WCBS Suffers in Morning

WCBS morning

WCBS management is hoping ratings heat up in the morning with John Elliott, Mary Calvi, Chris Wragge, and Alex Denis.


We’ve analyzed and dissected a one-day sampling from the May sweeps. Before the stations put a spin on the winners, here’s our ratings breakdown.

WNBC can claim victory during early mornings (4:30 to 7) among the pivotal adults 25 to 54 demographic. It’s a partial win for Channel 4, which got overtaken by perennial ratings champ WABC in the 6 a.m. hour.

It was a poor May for WCBS in the a.m., the first sweeps period for Channel 2 since the Rob Morrison resignation in late February. Now with Chris Wragge joining Mary Calvi, the station settled into a dismal fourth place behind WNYW’s Good Day Wake Up in the adults 25-54 demo.

The news is only slightly better for WCBS when using the household ratings. Channel 2 managed a third-place finish, eeking out WNYW. But it’s all about WABC—Eyewitness News This Morning won the daypart, and in doing so almost doubled its closest competitor (WNBC) in the 6 a.m. hour.

WPIX, in its first sweeps under the direction of Mark Effron, showed no improvement. The early edition of the PIX Morning News had an abysmal effort in the household and 25-54 demo. Channel 11 gets a few more viewers for the 7-9 a.m. block, but remained entrenched in fifth, and more important, locked behind rival WNYW using all measuring sticks.

As for the noon broadcasts, WNBC had a weak household rating. WCBS notched a solid number two, but still not enough to overtake WABC. Among the advertising friendly people 25-54, WNBC unofficially had microscopic numbers at noon, and 12:30 for that matter with New York Live. On that particular day, WABC and WCBS were virtually tied for first.

Turning to the evening newscasts, the busy 5 p.m. slot is owned by WABC among households, with WCBS a close second. In this sample from May 14, WNYW slipped past WNBC for third.

WNYW, led by Ernie Anastos and Dari Alexander, got its payback in the 25-54 grouping, edging WCBS and WABC for the top spot. WNBC was next, while WPIX received a miniscule rating.

wabc2WABC was the clear-cut winner at 6 p.m. with anchors Bill Ritter and Liz Cho.

The battle for 10 p.m. between WPIX and WNYW isn’t really much of a battle. Among the 25-54 folks, the Fox O&O with Steve Lacy and Alexander almost tripled the WPIX output. The Tamsen Fadal-led newscast also trailed WNYW by almost three to one among households.

Channel 7 ends the broadcast day with another big sweeps win at 11 p.m. Ritter and Sade Baderinwa took WABC to the heights in the 25-54 and households demo.

The ratings sweeps period ends May 22.

(Photo: via Twitter @ChrisWragge)

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