Atlanta TV ratings: WSB-TV dominates most of the day in local news and programming

Fred Blankenship (left) and Linda Stouffer (right) garner some of the highest local TV news ratings in town. CREDIT: WSB-TV

Fred Blankenship (left) and Linda Stouffer (right) garner some of the highest local TV news ratings in town. CREDIT: WSB-TV

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed Monday, August 15, 2016

For many years, Atlanta’s Channel 2 Action News has been the top performer in TV viewership, followed by Fox 5, then 11 Alive and CBS46.

In 2016 so far, that trend remains the same though WSB-TV has shown mild ratings erosion compared to the first seven months of 2015.

Fox 5 (WAGA-TV), which came in a strong second head to head against WSB, saw some increases in mornings and afternoons but its 10 p.m. newscast lost viewers. 11 Alive (WXIA-TV), which came in third, showed the most consistent ratings improvement across the board. CBS46 (WGCL-TV), despite a significant change in management and anchors, remained in fourth with a mixed bag performance. CBS saw modest ratings improvement in the mornings, was fairly flat in the afternoon and early evenings and dropped sharply at 11 p.m., which has been its strongest time slot.

WSB-TV led every hour in ratings in metro Atlanta except 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., when Fox 5 brought in bigger ratings with “The Steve Harvey Show” and “Judge Judy”

The top-rated program in any hour – outside of prime time – was ABC’s “World News Tonight” on WSB-TV at 7 p.m. weekdays.

Fox 5’s most popular program outside of its prime-time shows was its 10 p.m. newscast. 11 Alive brought in the most non-prime-time viewers when “Jeopardy” airs at 7:30 p.m. And CBS46 hit its non-prime-time peak at 11 a.m. when “The Price is Right” airs.

Ratings figures from 2015 vs. 2014. 

Top 10 most popular news telecasts in Atlanta, covering January 1 through July 31, 2016, based on household ratings compiled by Nielsen Media Research:

1 (tie) Channel 2 Action News at 6 a.m. with Fred Blankenship and Linda Stouffer 6.2

1 (tie) Channel 2 Action News at 6 p.m. with Jovita Moore and Justin Farmer 6.2

3. Channel 2 Action News at 5 p.m. with Jovita Moore and Justin Farmer 5.5

4. Channel 2 Action News at noon with Fred Blankenship and Carol Sbarge 5.0

5. Channel 2 Action News at 11 p.m. with Jovita Moore and Justin Farmer 4.9

6. Fox 5 News at 10 p.m. with Russ Spencer and Cynne Simpson, 4.6

7. Channel 2 Action News at 5 a.m. with Fred Blankenship and Linda Stouffer 4.4

8. Fox 5 News at 6 p.m. with Russ Spencer 4.3

9.  Fox 5 News at 5 p.m. with Tom Haynes and Cynne Simpson 4.2

10. Channel 2 Action News at 4 p.m. with Craig Lucie and Erin Coleman (who left last month) 3.9

WSB-TV and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution are both part of Cox Media Group.

Here is a hour-by-hour breakdown from 4:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. weekdays focused on the four primary broadcast networks with info about the CW, WATL-TV and Peachtree TV thrown in. This does not include cable ratings.

4:30 a.m.: Channel 2 Action News opened the day with an average 2.9 rating, double the ratings of Fox 5’s Good Day Atlanta with 1.4. 11 Alive”s Atlanta Alive drew a 0.5 and CBS46 had a 0.3. Compared to the same period in 2015, the rankings remained the same though WSB, WAGA and WXIA each saw slight drops in ratings.

5 a.m.: Channel 2 Action News pulled in a 4.3 rating, down from 4.5 a year earlier. Good Day Atlanta moved up to a 2.5 from a 2. Atlanta Alive saw an increase from 0.8 to a 1.0. CBS46 also saw an increase from 0.3 to 0.4. Overall local TV news viewership increased from 7.6 to 8.2.

6 a.m.: Channel 2 Action News again led with a 6.2 (down from 6.7), followed by Fox’s Good Day Atlanta (3.2 vs. 3.7 same period 2015), WXIA’s Atlanta Alive (1.4 vs. 1.7) and CBS46 (0.9 vs. 0.7). Overall local TV news viewership dropped from 12.8 to 11.7 year over year with only CBS46 showing growth.

7 a.m.-9 a.m.: Three of the stations go national while Fox 5 remains local. ABC’s “Good Morning America” enjoyed a 6.1 rating (down from 7.2 a year ago), followed by Fox’s Good Day Atlanta at 3.8 (holding steady year over year), NBC’s “Today Show” at 1.6 (down from 1.9) and CBS This Morning 1.0 (up from 0.8). Total viewership was down from 13.7 to 12.5.

9 a.m.: WSB’s “Kelly & Michael” (which for now is only “Kelly”) leads the hour with a 5.0 (vs. 5.6 a year ago), followed by Fox’s Good Day Atlanta 3.4 (up from 3.1) and NBC’s “Today” at 1.4 (down from 1.5). CBS46’s now airs “700 Club” at 0.2 (which used to be on CW69 where it pulled in a 0.1. CBS a year ago aired a local “Better Mornings” show that had a 0.3). WATL’s Steve Wilkos holds at 0.5 year over year while CW69 now runs “People’s Court” and garners a 0.7.

10 a.m. WSB’s “The Doctors” reigns with a 3.4 (down from 3.9) followed by Fox’s “Wendy Williams” at 2.5 (down from 2.9). CBS’s “Let’s Make a Deal” comes in third with a 1.6 (down from 1.8) with NBC’s fourth hour of “Today” pulling in a 1.2 (down from 1.3). WATL’s Maury Povich is up sharply with a 0.9 (from 0.6) while CW’s “America’s Court” doubled its numbers to a 0.8 (up from 0.4)

11 a.m. WSB’s “The View” is tops at 3.5 (vs. 3.8 a year ago) with CBS’s “The Price is Right” second at 2.6 (up from 2.4). Fox’s “The Real” is third at 1.8 (down from 2.0). WXIA’s pay-for-play “Atlanta & Company” is at 0.5, up from 0.4. Over on the CW, “People’s Court” gets a 0.9 (up from 0.5), Peachtree TV’s “Law & Order CI” is at  0.7 (up from 0.6 for “Law & Order SVU” a year ago) and WATL’s “Springer” holds at 0.7

noon WSB’s Channel 2 Action News dominated the hour with a 5.0 rating (down from 5.7 a year ago). Fox5 News at noon drew a 2.3 (up from 2.1). A combination of WXIA’s Atlanta & Company & “Corrupt Crimes” brought in a 0.6 (vs. 0.4 for Atl & Co. and “Jeopardy”).  CBS News at noon had a 1.4 (up from 1.2) followed by “Atlanta Unplugged” at 0.6 (up from 0.5).  WATL’s “Maury Povich” is down a bit (0.8 vs. 0.9), Peachtree TV’s “Hot Bench” improved upon “Millionaire” (0.7 vs. 0.6) and the CW’s  “Judge Mathis is up again (1.4 vs. 1.0)

1 p.m.: WSB’s “The Chew” drew the hour’s biggest ratings with a 3.4 (holding steady year over year).  Fox 5’s “Access Hollywood” brought in 1.7  followed by “South of Wilshire” at 1.1 (vs. Access at 1.8 and “TMZ” at 1.4 a year ago). WXIA’s “Days of Our Lives” is far hotter than it was in 2015 with a 1.5 (up from 0.9). After paid programming at 1 p.m., CBS’s 1:30 p.m. airing of “The Bold and the Beautiful” garnered a 1.2 (down from 1.3). WATL’s “Springer” tied CBS with a 1.2 (up from 0.9).  Peachtree TV’s “Judge Mablean” 0.7 drew comparable numbers as “Divorce Court” in 2015. CW69’s “Paternity Court with Lauren Lake” (shot in Atlanta) saw an uptick to 1.3 from 1.2.

2 p.m.: WSB’s lone soap opera “General Hospital” leads the hour with a 2.8 (up from 2.7). Fox 5’s TMZ Live is second at 1.6 (down from 1.7). The CW’s ‘Judge Mathis” is third at 1.3, up from 1.0. CBS’s “The Talk” comes in fourth at 1.2 (down from 1.4). Next is WATL’s “Steve Wilkos” at 1.0, down from 1.1. WXIA’s “Rachael Ray,” which is going away this fall, is at a 0.9 (up from 0.7). , Peachtree TV’s “Divorce Court” 0.7 (down from 0.8 for”Judge Mablean” in 2015).

3 p.m.: For the first hour of the day, WSB isn’t the local ratings leader. Fox 5’s “Steve Harvey Show” pulls in a 2.5 (up from 2.4 a year ago). WSB’s “Dr. Oz” brings in a 2.0 (down from 2.2). WXIA’s “Dr. Phil” made a big jump to a 1.6 from 1.1 for third place. CBS’s “The Young & the Restless” took a massive tumble, from 2.2 to 1.3. WATL’s “Cheaters” is at 1.0 (down from 1.2).  The CW’s “Bill Cunningham” holds at  0.7. Peachtree TV’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire is at 0.5 (vs. 0.6 for “Hot Bench” a year ago)

4 p.m. Fox 5’s “Judge Judy” takes over the top spot with a 4.1 (up from 3.7) while WSB’s Channel 2 Action News slips to second at 3.9 (down from 4.4).  WXIA’s “Ellen” rose sharply from 1.7 to 2.4. CBS News at 4 edges up from 1.1 to 1.2. WATL’s “Jerry Springer” holds at 1.1. The CW’s “Family Feud” is at 0.6, up from 0.4 for repeats of “Paternity Court” a year ago. Peachtree TV’s “Crimewatch Daily” is at 0.4 (down from “King of Queens” airing a year ago at 0.6).

5 p.m. WSB’s Channel 2 Action News at 5 showed dominance with a 5.5 rating (down from 6.4 a year ago). Fox5 News at 5 edges up to 4.2 from 4.1 for a strong second. 11 Alive at 5 shows some improvement, moving to a 2.2 from 1.8. WATL’s “Maury Povich” came in fourth with a 1.4 (up from 1.3). CBS News at 5 slipped back to a 1.0 from 1.1. Peachtree TV’s King of Queens 0.7 (comparable to “The Middle” a year ago at 0.8). CW 69’s 2 Broke Girls (0.5) is doing better than “Rules of Engagement” (0.3) a year ago while “How I Met Your Mother” is up from 0.2 to 0.4.

6 p.m. WSB’s Channel 2 Action News at 6 is top dog during the crucial 6 p.m. hour with a 6.2 rating (down from 7.4 a year ago). Fox5 News at 6 held steady at 4.3. 11 News at 6 p.m (3.0, up from 2.7) and NBC Nightly News (4.2, up from 3.8) both showed upward momentum. Despite a lot of billboard promotions, CBS46 News at 6 p.m. slipped to a 1.2 from 1.4 while CBS Evening News at 6:30 p.m. fell from 1.9 to 1.5. WATL’s repeat of Dr. Phil is up to a 1.3 from 1.1. Peachtree TV’s Modern Family (1.2) is up from the “Seinfeld”/”Modern Family” combo a year ago (1.0).  CW69’s Mike & Molly at 6 p.m. (0.7, up from 0.4) and Celebrity Name Game at 6:30 (0.6, up from 0.5) both brought in more viewers.

7 p.m. ABC World News captured the hour with an 8.4 rating (down from 9.7). NBC’s ‘Wheel of Fortune” saw strong improvement year over year, from 3.9 to 5.0. Fox 5’s ‘Dish Nation” (which features Rickey Smiley) moved up to a 3.1. from 2.4. Peachtree TV’s ‘Big Bang Theory” brought in a 2.1, coming in fourth, up from 1.5 a year ago. It jumped ahead of the CW’s “Family Feud” (1.4 vs. 1.6 a year ago). Interest in CBS46’s “Inside Edition” slid from 1.6 to 1.1. And WATL’s ‘Andy Griffith” (talk about a show with lasting power!) carried a 0.9 vs 1.0 a year ago.

7:30 p.m. WSB’s Entertainment Tonight led the pack at a 6.2 (down from 6.8), ahead of 11 Alive’s ‘Jeopardy” at 5.6  (up from 4.9) and Fox 5’s TMZ at 3.0 (up from 2.7).  Peachtree TV’s ‘The Big Bang Theory” grew from 1.8 to 2.3. The CW’s “Family Feud” dropped from 2.3 to 2.0.  WATL’s “Andy Griffith” fell from 1.5 to 1.4. CBS’s “Insider” came down from 1.1 .to 0.9.

8-11 p.m. primetime (except Fox, 8 to 10 p.m.). Live viewership at prime-time fell across the board. WSB led in prime-time, averaging a 4.4 (down from 4.5), followed by Fox 5 at 3.0 (down from 3.3), CBS 46 at 2.8 (down from 2.9), WXIA-TV at 2.5 (down from 2.7) and the CW at 0.7 (same).

10 p.m. Fox5 News at 10 drew a 4.6 rating, down sharply from 5.5 a year ago.

11 p.m. WSB’s Channel 2 Action News was the hour leader with a 4.9 (down from 5.7). Fox5 News Edge brought in a 3.6, down slightly from 3.7. 11Alive was the only network to see an increase, from 1.8 to 2. CBS46 fell from a 2.0 to a 1.5. Both Peachtree TV’s “Family Guy” and CW69’s “Two and a Half Men” brought in a 0.8. For “Family Guy,” that was no change. For the CW, “Two and a Half Men” did better than last year’s ‘Rules of Engagement” (0.5). WATL’s “Corrupt Crimes” (0.4) did better than last year’s “Cougartown” (0.3)

11:30 p.m. WSB’s ‘The Jimmy Kimmel Show” fell to 2.9 from 3.5 year over year in its first half hour, essentially tying Fox 5’s new 11:30 edition of News Edge at 2.9 (which is better than the 2.6 “Access Hollywood” had there a year ago). The first half-hour of “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon’ drew a 1.6, about the same as a year ago. CBS’s “Late Night With Stephen Colbert” drew a 0.9, far below the last few months of “David Letterman” at 1.4. Peachtree TV’s “American Dad” brought in a 0.7 (vs. 0.7 a year ago), same as the CW’s “Anger Management” (up from “Two and a Half Men” at 0.5 a year ago). WATL’s “Forensic Files’ had a 0.4, double what “CougarTown” drew a year ago.

midnight The second half-hour of Jimmy Kimmel brought the highest ratings of the hour with a 2.4 (down from 2.7). Fox 5’s repeat of “TMZ” dropped from a 2.1 to a 2.0. The second half hour of Fallon brought in a 1.3 (down from 1.4) while Colbert dropped to a 0.7 (vs. 1.1 for Letterman last year.) WATL’s “Hot in Cleveland” held at 0.2. Peachtree TV’s “Family Guy” (0.8) drew about the same as “American Dad” (0.7) a year ago. The CW’s “Two and a Half Men” (0.7) is outpacing “Anger Management” a year ago (0.4).

12:30 a.m.: ABC’s “Nightline” brought in a 2.0 (down from 2.3). Fox 5’s “Dish Nation” was second with a 1.6 (down from 1.7. The first half hour of “Seth Meyers” on NBC drew a 1.0 rating, same as a year ago. James Cordon on CBS46 dropped from 0.6 to 0.5. WATL’s “CougarTown” had a 0.2 (same as “Raising Hope” a year ago). PeachtreeTV’s “American Dad” drew a 0.7 (up from 0.6). CW69’s “Anger Management” brought in a 0.6 (up from 0.4 with “Two and a Half Men” in the slot a year ago).

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