Published: May 23, 2002

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  • Station Holds Position as Market News Leader

  • Station Maintains Sign-On to Sign-Off Bragging Rights

  • WNBC Wins Daytime Dramas and Prime Time In New York

    NEW YORK — May 23, 2002 — At the conclusion of the all important May sweeps period, WNBC has once again emerged as New York’s news leader and the number one station in the market according to Nielsen Media Research.

    WNBC was No. 1 in the all-important 6PM and 11PM newscasts, maintaining its status as the top choice for both early and late news seven days a week. WNBC was also #1 at 5PM with “Live at Five.” The 6AM news and “People’s Court” at 3PM tied for the top honors, while, “Judge Judy” again took a gavel to WABC’s “Oprah Winfrey” at 4 p.m. In addition, WNBC maintained its first place hold in the Daytime Dramas, Prime Time and was #1 Sign-On to Sign-Off in New York.

    In the Early News time period, Channel 4 maintained its solid first place hold in both the 5PM and 6PM newscasts, a time period of increased significance to advertisers. At 5PM, WNBC’s “Live at Five,” with a 7% increase over May 2001, won with a 6.3 rating 13 share, followed by WABC’s 6.2 rating 13 share, and WCBS’s 2.5 rating/5 share. For the Monday-Sunday 6PM newscast, WNBC posted a 6.3 rating and 12 share, which was a 6% increase over May 2001. WABC was at a 6.2 rating/12 share, while WCBS trailed with a 3.2/6.

    In the Monday – Friday 6AM news battle, WNBC’s “Today in New York” tied WABC’s Eyewitness News, with both newscasts posting a 3.8 rating and 15 share. In third was WNYW with a 1.7 rating/7 share, followed by WPIX at 1.6/5, then WCBS with a 0.8 rating and 3 share of audience.

    WNBC’s “NewsChannel 4 at 11PM” won the advertiser-friendly Monday – Friday race with a 8.8 rating 15 share, compared to WABC’s 7.2 rating 12 share and WCBS’s 3.9 rating 7 share. For Monday to Sunday, WNBC led as well, with an 8.2 rating 14 share, WABC averaged a 7.4 rating 13 share, and WCBS averaged a 4.3 rating 7 share. This marks WNBC’s 7th consecutive year with a May sweeps late news victory!

    “People’s Court” and “Judge Judy” continued to rule in Early Fringe. “Court” averaged a 4.3/12, tying “General Hospital, while “Judy” continued to dominate its time period, averaging a 5.6 rating 14 share, a full rating point over the once unbeatable “Oprah Winfrey.” WCBS’s combination of “Weakest Link” and “CBS2 News First at 430” followed with a 1.9 rating, 5 share.

    WNBC was also dominant in Prime Time, leading the way in New York with a 10.4 rating 15 share, an increase of 12% over May 2001, and WNBC’s best May primetime ratings since 1999. WCBS came in second place, scoring an 8.2 rating 12 share, while WABC was third with a 7.2 rating 11 share. Seven of the top 10 regular primetime series belong to WNBC, including the first six. WNBC had the #1 rated primetime show for the May sweep – the season finale of “Friends” which did a 23.1 rating 35 share. WNBC also had the top two specials in May, with the “NBC 75th Anniversary” and “Cosby: A Look Back.”

    The Sign-On to Sign-Off bragging rights belonged to Channel 4, which averaged a 5.0 rating 12 share. This was up 5% from May 2001. WABC is pulled a 4.5 rating 11 share, WCBS was next with a 3.3 rating 8 share, followed by WPIX with a 2.9 rating 7 share, WNYW with a 2.3 rating 5 share and WWOR’s average of a 1.7 rating 4 share. WNBC’s Sign-On to Sign-Off win is the biggest in a May ratings period for Channel 4 since 1998.

    The “Today Show” continued its first place reign in New York, scoring a 5.4 rating 16 share from 7 – 9AM, an increase of 2% over May 2001. WABC’s “Good Morning America” averaged a 4.2 rating 12 share, while WNYW’s “Good Day New York” delivered a 2.7 rating 8 share. The “Early Show” on WCBS lagged far behind with a 1.0 rating 3 share. The 9-10am Today Show hour continued to perform well, averaging a 3.3 rating 11 share, up 10% from 2001. This show was a solid #2 in the time period.

    WNBC’s daytime drama lineup of “Days of Our Lives” and “Passions” is again #1 for the third straight sweep book (February 2002, March 2002, and now May 2002). The two shows averaged a 3.9 rating 12 share, edging out the WABC lineup, which posted a 3.8 rating 12 share. WNBC was up 14% versus last May and this is the first May book that the WNBC soaps have ever beaten WABC. WCBS’s soap lineup was a competitive third with a 3.2 rating 10 share.

    Channel 4 also maintained its first place hold on the weekend morning newscasts, averaging a 4.8 rating 13 share for “Saturday Today in New York” (9-10:30AM) and a 2.5 rating 9 share for “Sunday Today in New York” (7-9AM)

    In late-night talk programming, “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno’s” first place 4.2 rating 10 share continued to surpass the “Late Show with David Letterman’s” 2.6 rating 6 share. “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” on WNBC delivered a 1.8 rating 6 share to be #1, as well.

    Dennis Swanson, WNBC’s President and General Manager remarked, “We are again very pleased with our performance given the importance of the May book in setting year-long advertising rates. We not only maintained the top market position in many critical dayparts but showed significant growth in these key time periods, including 5PM, 6PM, Prime Time, Daytime and the all-important Sign-On to Sign-Off – building further on our strength and laying the foundation to make our revenue targets for the rest of the year.”

    Contact:Anna Carbonell, Director: Press & Public Affairs (212) 664-3392

    Evan Kutner, Director of Research (212) 664-7318

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