Channel 2’s Jodi Johnston came off the injured list this week just in time for the beginning of the November sweeps.
That’s right, the November sweeps start in October and end on Thanksgiving Eve.
This year’s November sweeps period should be among the most interesting in years because it is loaded with many local and national questions. Here are The Top 10:
1. Will Channel 2 overtake Channel 4 in the early news block from 5 p.m. to 6:30 in the first sweeps in the post-Oprah era?
2. Will Channel 2 be competitive at 11 p.m. despite the weak lead-ins it gets from NBC’s 10 p.m. prime time series?
3. Will Channel 4’s decision to at least temporarily replace meteorologist Mike Cejka with Amelia Segal on “Wake Up!” having any impact on its losing battle with Channel 2’s “Daybreak” in the morning?
4. How will 11 a.m. Channel 2 anchor Mary Friona fare in her first sweeps since replacing John Beard on that newscast?
5. How low can Channel 7’s ratings go? Or will it get a minor 11 p.m. boost because ABC’s 10 p.m. shows give it a better lead-in than Channel 2 gets from NBC.
6. Will the Buffalo Bills break a 40 rating for Sunday’s game with Washington in Toronto or any other November game after a 4-2 season start?
7. Will Channel 2’s high definition newscast arrive on schedule Saturday night, will it look different than Channel 7’s high definition newscast and will it draw any viewers?
8. Will anyone watch Channel 2’s noon talk program with Bill O’Loughlin and Lydia Dominick?
9. Which network series will be the next to be canceled? CBS’ “The Gifted Man” – which airs on Friday night — is the national favorite.
10. Will Simon Cowell’s “The X Factor” be a significant factor here after being largely ignored?
* Not surprisingly, President Obama got some very soft questions from Jay Leno (see above) on his Tuesday night appearance on “The Tonight Show.” It was a rather gentle and uneventful interview, with the most noteworthy sound clip coming at the end when the President likened the Republican candidates seeking their parties’ nomination to the TV show “Survivor.”
Leno was very easy on the President when dealing with issues. He also looked for comic relief. Leno comically chastised the President for supposedly preventing his daughters from watching “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” after he admitted he never had seen it. That was about the extent of Leno’s criticism.
All in all, the interview probably helped President Obama and Leno keep their images as likable people without changing any of the critical perceptions of their ability to do their jobs. The interview was not a signficiant TV event locally. It only averaged a 3.9 rating on Channel 2, which suggests WNYers didn’t want to hear what either man had to say.
* How badly is NBC’s “Prime Suspect” Week killing Channel 2′s late news? On Tuesday, a repeat of Maria Bello’s show averaged a 1.8 on Channel 2, which was such a poor lead-in that Channel 7′s 11 p.m. news beat Channel 2′s 11 p.m. news for second place behind Channel 4. Wednesday’s “Prime Suspect” repeat improved — if you want to call it that — to a 1.9 on Channel 2. Those are the type of ratings that usually get a show canceled.