Katie Couric isn’t getting much love from Western New York.
However, the low local rating for her syndicated national talk show was predictable. In fact, stilltalkintv predicted “Katie” wouldn’t be a hit here based on one simple fact: It is on Channel 7, which is the weakest network affiliate in the market.
That’s a little sad because for decades Channel 7 was one of the best ABC affiliates in in the nation.
The importance of the strength of the network affiliates that talk shows and new shows are on couldn’t be more apparent than in the WNY market.
How bad are the local ratings for “Katie”? I promise I won’t bore you with too many numbers, but some are necessary. “Katie” averages a 1.6 rating here at 4 p.m. weekdays, which means that 1.6 percent of area households are watching. The show gets less than a third of the audience that time slot winner “Ellen” gets on Channel 2 and less than half of what “Dr. Oz” gets on Channel 4. “Katie” also averages more than a rating point lower than Anderson Cooper’s 3 p.m. syndicated talk show on Channel 4, and Cooper’s show already has been canceled because of poor national numbers.
One major problem for “Katie” is the lead-in she gets from Ricki Lake’s new show, which Channel 7 carries right before her show. Lake’s show doesn’t even average a 1 rating. “Katie” actually doubles her lead-in.
If misery loves company, Couric should talk with Diane Sawyer, the anchor of ABC’s national newscast at 6:30 p.m. weekdays. Nationally, it is in second place and has reduced the lead of first-place NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams to a half of a point. Locally, Williams’ newscast dominates over second-place CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley on Channel 4. Williams’ newscast doubles the local rating for Sawyer’s third-place newscast, which has the misfortune of following the third place 6 p.m. newscast of Channel 7.
While ABC’s “Good Morning America” has overtaken NBC’s “Today” nationally, it remains no contest locally. “Today” remains a strong No. 1 on Channel 2 with the help of the lead-in it gets from Channel 2’s “Daybreak.” “Today“ almost doubles the rating for second-place “GMA” here, with CBS’ morning show on Channel 4 within a half point of “GMA.”
Meanwhile, the two syndicated game shows that moved away from Channel 7 after lengthy runs there to Channel 4 – “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy” — are flourishing in their new home. Both game shows average double-digit ratings that networks would die for in prime time. “Wheel” and “Jeopardy” have more viewers combined than the light entertainment news programs featuring the latest Kardashian and Lohan news that Channel 2 and Channel 7 carry in the same hour.
The weakness of Channel 7 is less apparent when it concerns prime time entertainment television. CBS programming, which is carried on affiliate Channel 4, still is no.1 locally among the Big Three with an 8.4 average. NBC programming, which has been third for years, is now No.2 on Channel 2 with a 6.3 average thanks largely to Sunday Night Football, “The Voice” and the new hit “Revolution.” ABC programming, which is carried by Channel 7, is a close third with a 6.1 average. I don’t yet have figures for Fox, which is carried on Channel 29. But it doesn’t do well generally until “American Idol” returns in January. The CW, which is carried on WNLO-TV, isn’t much of a factor here.
Of course, the local stations are much more concerned with how their network programs fare at 10:45 p.m. to 11 p.m. as a news lead-in. Channel 4 (CBS) remains first with a 7.7, with Channel 2 (NBC) second with a 6.0 and Channel 7 (ABC) third with a 5.1.
That is also the order of the finish for the 11 p.m. news, illustrating the importance of the news lead-in even when the clicker is in the hand of viewers ready to change the channel.
One more thing of note: The long goodbye that Channel 2 gave Jodi Johnston on “Daybreak” didn’t have much of a ratings impact. The Monday program, which had a minimal amount of Johnston celebration, had an 8.4 rating. Tuesday’s program had a 6.2. Wednesday’s program, which celebrated Johnston the most, had a 6.6 rating on the morning before Thanksgiving. The three-day average of 7.1 was slightly below the program’s average for the November sweeps.