News Column

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel On TV/Radio column

May 24, 2013

YellowBrix

May 24--WISN-TV (Channel 12) won three of four major news rating time periods in the just-ended May sweeps ratings period among total households. The results were announced Thursday.

The critical barometer of local ratings success is the 10 p.m. newscast, which WISN won handily with an 8.9 rating, ahead of second-place WTMJ-TV (Channel 4), which had a 6 rating. It is the second consecutive sweeps win in the time period by WISN.

"This is the station's widest lead" at 10 p.m. in "Milwaukee ratings history," WISN trumpeted in a press release.

It was a tight finish for second place, with just 0.4 point between WTMJ and fourth-place WDJT-TV (Channel 58). WITI-TV (Channel 6) ranked third.

The 10 p.m. result was affected by lead-in programming from each station's affiliated networks. Locally, ABC had the top-rated prime-time schedule on WISN; NBC had the lowest-rated prime-time schedule on WTMJ.

WISN had six of the top 10 network series, including "Dancing With the Stars" and its results show, "Castle," "Scandal," Modern Family" and "Grey's Anatomy." But WTMJ had the No. 1 show of the 2012-'13 season, "Sunday Night Football," which edged out CBS' second-ranked "NCIS."

The end of the sweeps period also marked the end of the 2012-'13 television season, which was won in the ratings by CBS. It was the first time in 21 years that CBS has won the 18-to-49-year-old demographic, thanks to Fox's fading "American Idol." Fox was down 22% in the demographic.

Only CBS and Univision showed growth in total viewers. CBS was up 1% to 11.8 million viewers, compared with 7.8 million for ABC, 7 million for Fox, 6.9 million for NBC and 3.8 million for Univision, up 2%.

WISN also won the 5 and 6 p.m. newscast ratings races. WTMJ was second in both of those periods. WITI once again won the morning news race.

During the sweeps period, networks and local stations air original entertainment and high-profile news programming in the hope that the increased ratings will allow them to charge more for advertising. The survey period ended Wednesday.

In June, sweeps ratings results will be released for the 25-to-54-year-old demographic coveted by advertisers. WTMJ won that survey in February despite coming in second in household numbers at 10 p.m. on the heels of NBC's historic fifth-ranked performance, behind Univision. A local rating point is the equivalent of 9,100 TV households.

Here are the average household ratings between April 25 and May 22.

6 to 7 a.m.: WITI, 4.7; WISN, 4.4; WTMJ, 3.5; WDJT, 1.0.

7 to 9 a.m.: "Good Morning, America," 5.4; "Fox6 Wakeup," 4.8; "Today," 3.3; "CBS This Morning," 1.0.

9 to 10 a.m.: "Real Milwaukee," WITI, 3.3; "Kelly & Michael," WISN, 3.3; "Let's Make a Deal," WDJT, 1.8; "Morning Blend," WTMJ, 1.4.

5 to 5:30 p.m.: WISN, 5.6; WTMJ, 5.1; WITI, 3.1; WDJT, 2.7.

5:30 to 6 p.m.: NBC (WTMJ), 6.8; ABC (WISN), 6.8; WITI, local news, 3.4; CBS (WDJT), 3.3.

6 to 6:30 p.m.: WISN, 6.5; "Jeopardy," WDJT, 6.3; WTMJ, 5.2; WITI, 3.8.

9 to 10 p.m.: ABC (WISN), 9.1; CBS (WDJT), 6.5; WITI, local news, 5.9; NBC (WTMJ), 4.0;

10 to 10:30 p.m.: WISN, 8.9; WTMJ, 6; WITI, 5.7; WDJT, 5.6.

10:30 p.m.: WISN, local news, 6.2; "Seinfeld," WITI, 3.6; "Tonight Show," NBC, 3.3; "Late Show With David Letterman," CBS, 1.5.

Other late-night ratings: "Jimmy Kimmel Live," ABC, 3.2; "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon," NBC, 1.6; "Nightline," ABC, 2.2; "Last Call with Carson Daly," NBC, 0.9; "Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson," CBS, 0.6.

Starting Monday, Weigel Broadcasting will introduce a classic movies channel on digital over-the-air WMLW-TV (Channel 49.3) and nationally on Fox owned and operated stations, it was announced Thursday.

The channel, called MOVIES!, is a partnership between the Chicago-based Weigel chain and Fox Television Stations. The channel will reach over 40% of U.S. TV homes when launched, said Neal Sabin, president of content and networks for Weigel.

He said the films will be presented in a "movie lovers' kind of manner," with 12 minutes of commercials per hour and with no editing for length.

Which means a movie will end "when it's over," he said.

The service is "a little Turner Classic movies, it's a little AMC and it's a little ME-TV in the way we present the films," Sabin said.

Many films will be presented in showcases, he said, such as female-oriented films on Saturday night and Westerns every morning "because that's a genre that isn't in most places."

"And every night in prime time, there will be an iconic movie or iconic movie star in the movie."

Films are from the Fox studios library, plus two other yet to be named studios.

The first prime-time movies Monday will be "Silent Movie" (1976) and "High Anxiety" (1977), starring and directed by Mel Brooks.

The channel officially begins Monday at 7 a.m. with "Take a Hard Ride" (1975), with Jim Brown and Lee Van Cleef.

MOVIES! also will be available on Charter Cable.

It is the eighth digital channel stream offered in Milwaukee by Weigel, including a movie and nostalgia TV channel, This TV (Channel 58.3). Weigel also owns and operates WDJT-TV (Channel 58); WBME-TV (Channel 58.2), Showest, WMLW-TV (49.1), Bounce (49.2) and Telemundo (49.4).

Our weather may be cool and damp, but anyone who saw the devastation caused by the Oklahoma tornado, knows we have nothing to complain about. But while the tornado was a story of great significance, I was surprised to see local stations send reporters to the scene.

"Weather is always 'local,' because it's such a shared experience," Steve Wexler, vice president of TV and radio for Journal Broadcast group, said in an email. He said WTMJ sent meteorologist Brian Gotter, who has family in the area.

WISN sent meteorologist Sally Severson, WDJT sent meteorologist Michael Schlesinger and WITI sent Ben Handelman and photojournalist Andy Konkle. WITI says Handelman was the first to file live from the scene on Tuesday morning. In several cases the local reporters assisted sister stations in the area.

The tornado was "not just a local story," WISN news director Chris Gegg said in an email.

"Living in the Midwest we are prone to severe weather. We felt it was important to have a trained meteorologist to provide information and insight...from a Wisconsin perspective" and stories on "storm preparedness," he said.

Email: ddudek@journalsentinel.com

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