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Many Questions in November Sweeps

Jay Leno, host of the Tonight Show. Cropped fr...

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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:
1Will 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.

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9 responses to "Many Questions in November Sweeps"

  1. Speaking of Leno, I’m starting to think those lead-ins are making channel 2– and a whole lot of other NBC affiliates– long for the days of The Jay Leno Show. Who’d have thought?

    I hope Comcast has a plan to fix this. If I were head of NBC, the first move I’d make is cut that third hour and just let the affiliates go straight to local news the way Fox does (the problem with Leno was that they forced everyone to air it at 10). Put Leno at 11 (he’ll be competing with Jon Stewart and Conan, so it’s not unprecedented) and Fallon at midnight. That gives NBC stations a chance to produce their late local news at 10 (most do it already), then if they only want a half-hour newscast, they can fill the second half with a syndicated program of some sort (syndication needs a boost anyway).

  2. Tina says:

    Leno isn’t a journalist and he has never been considered a hard hitting interviewer so I don’t understand the big surprise about the interview being “soft”. Jay seems pretty fair to all of the politicians that he has on his show so I am not sure why anyone would think he is now suppose to pretend he is Mike Wallace all of a sudden.

  3. Mark Scott says:

    I don’t understand NBC’s strategy of a four-day run of “Prime Suspect.” I believe all of the episodes so far received a second airing after their original Thursday broadcast — either on a Saturday night or Monday night. So, this week marks the third time these episodes have been aired — all in less than a month! I like “Prime Suspect.” But I’m not going to watch the same episode twice, much less three times, within a month. No wonder one of this week’s airings got a 1.8 rating. What does NBC expect? If you like “Prime Suspect,” you’ve seen it! Why watch it again! I submit NBC is severely over-exposing this show. Plus, tonight’s episode is going up against Game Six of the World Series, so I’ll be grabbing it on the DVR. I think it would be highly unfair for NBC to cancel this series because the third airing of an episode in less than a month earned a miniscule rating.

  4. Bob says:

    In this age of remote control I find it interesting that a lead-in program can have such an impact on that channels 11:00 news program. This leads one to believe that people will watch any news, rather than click a couple buttons. Maybe all this talk about HD and inexperienced news people is just that.

    • Honestly, I think that it’s a flaw in the Nielsen system. There’s quite a few people who just leave their TV on (maybe with a sleep timer) before going to sleep, and Nielsen can’t tell them from active viewers. So, someone who goes to sleep watching CBS will get recorded watching channel 4 news when really they’re not. Nielsen seems to blur the ratings of lead-ins and lead-outs into each other.

      Ask Bill O’Loughlin.

  5. Tom says:

    For those keeping track, the Kiddie Corps grew by 1 today. According to the Buffalo News, 4 decided to hire a new reporter by the name of Ed Drantch. This will be his second station, after reporting in Harrisonville, West Virginia. This is the same article where the News writes about Channel 4 reassigning veteran staffers.

    Ed and Bryan Shaw have one thing in common…they both were in West Virginia for the last news positions. Bryan was in Huntington, Ed was in Harrisonville. However, Bryan Shaw worked at two other stations prior to coming here (4 years experience). Ed only worked at 1 other station prior to coming here (2 years experience).

    I decided to go on YouTube and found that Ed Drantch has his own channel with reporting reels. Link: http://www.youtube.com/user/eddrantch

    From here, we can all decide whether he may be a good fit or not.

  6. Tom says:

    I did get a chance to see Channel 2′s new logo during a brief HD promo and a special that aired Saturday night at 8. All I can say is that the new logo looked brutal on both a SD and a widescreen TV. The Eurostile font looked very cluttered and you could barely see “wgrz.com” on there. Instead of what they decided to do, they should have looked at their sister station WTSP in Tampa for how to modernize the logo.

    The existing 2 logo could have been kept but updated to the newer red/blue/silver colors that Gannett uses. Then, take “News” out from underneath the “2″ and just move it to the right side of the logo box. Finally, they should have used the “wgrz.com” logo that is used on their “What 2 Do” promos and it would have all looked much better.

    WGRZ got a lot of negative comments when they put the “Help us choose the new logo” story on their website that they actually deleted it off, only to show up as “Story Not Found.”

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