Many of my editors at The Buffalo News often weren’t thrilled by my stories about news ratings after sweeps in February, November and May.
Too many numbers, they would say. And they were probably right.
But I’m a numbers guy. And I think readers and viewers want to know who the winners are whether we’re talking the NFL, the NHL or TV news.
So here it goes.
The big news in May is that Channel 4 has won back the morning. Channel 2 officials probably will complain Channel 4 did it by “borrowing” many of its ideas, including having Melissa Holmes do features on web bargains a la Matt Granite on Channel 2.
Additionally, the full story emerges after demographics arrive in several days.
But for now, Channel 4 news is celebrating big time. It won every local news time period.
At 6 a.m., the CBS affiliate reversed Channel 2’s February victory at 6 a.m. Channel 4, with anchors Victoria Hong and Joe Arena, had a 6.3 rating to Channel 2’s 5.7 with anchors John Beard and Jodi Johnston. In February, Channel 2 won, 6.8-5.8.
At noon, Channel 4 doubles Channel 7’s ratings, 8.2-4.1.
At 5 p.m, Channel 4 wins with an 8.2, followed by Channel 2 with a 6.9 and Channel 7 with a 4.5. The good news for local TV news is that viewership for all three newscasts are up from a year ago and that doesn’t happen too often these days.
At 6 p.m., Channel 4 wins with an 8.4, followed by Channel 2 with a 7.2 and Channel 7 with a 5.7. The good news for Channel 2 is the race is closer here than it was in May of 2009 when Channel 2 was closer to third-place Channel 7 than to Channel 4.
At 11 p.m., Channel 4 wins with a 9.1, followed by Channel 2 with a 7.8 and Channel 7 with a 5.7. Once again, Channel 2 can be encouraged that the race is much closer this May than it was in May of 2009.
While combined local news audiences from all three news stations went up at 6 a.m, 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., the decline in viewership at 11 p.m. was significant, down about 15 percent from a year ago.
Confession time: I might have watched an hour or two of the “American Idol” season before Wednesday night so I’m not qualified to say who should have won. On the other hand, maybe the best way to decide who should win is to only watch the finale.
My attention wandered over to ESPN during Orlando’s NBA playoff win over Boston in game five but I did get to hear finalists Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox for the first time singing a duet. My conclusion: She was robbed. Lee’s voice doesn’t hold a candle to Crystal’s. I’d rather listen to paint dry than hear the former paint store salesman sing again.
A few more “Idol” thoughts in between baskets: It was nice to see Paula Abdul say goodbye to Simon Cowell, but her rambling salute to him seemed longer than the final two minutes of a NBA playoff game.
What happened to the idea of having the winner sing a new song? DeWyze’s first song is U2’s “Beautiful Day,” which means he’ll be compared to Bono. Not a good idea.
Finally, the ratings for the final two nights of “Idol” suggest a significant slip from a year ago on WUTV, the local Fox affiliate. Remember, I’m a numbers guy and this can be a little confusing because the way audiences are measured has changed in the past year.
Tuesday’s performance finale had a 13.1 rating on WUTV and Wednesday’s results show had a 16.6 rating. Those ratings include any DVR viewing on the night the shows were on.
A year ago, the performance final had a 16.3 rating on WUTV with no DVR rating that night and the results finale had a 16.0 with no DVR viewing that night. After DVR and later viewing was added over seven nights, “Idol’s” performance final had a 19.6 rating and the result shows had a 19.0 rating.
Clearly, there is going to have to be a large DVR audience over the next seven days to achieve the higher 2009 ratings. And I would suspect the later DVR viewing of Wednesday’s show will primarily be over the last 10 minutes when DeWyze was declared the winner.
Before the 2010 TV season, you may recall I named CBS’ “The Good Wife” as the season’s best new drama. It lived up to that billing and more during a season that effectively used all members of its strong cast and ended with a very good finale Tuesday.
In the final scene, lead character Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) got a cell phone call from her boss and potential love interest Will Gardner (Josh Charles) just before she was supposed to play the good wife and join her disgraced husband Peter (Chris North) after he announced a new election campaign.
Will she or won’t she remain the good wife?
It is hard to see any way she doesn’t join her husband, at least temporarily, next fall. But it was a good final scene anyway.