WPIX Catches WNYW in July Morning Race

Let the good times roll at WPIX!

Thanks to a combination of its hard work and a competitor’s questionable moves, WPIX staked a claim of the July Nielsen ratings.

Channel 11 is a winner in the morning. In particular, the 7 a.m. to 9 a.m portion of the PIX Morning News with Sukanya Krishnan and Frances Rivera. The program has eclipsed morning powerhouse WNYW and its Good Day New York. In the all-important Adults 25 to 54, WPIX edged WPIX, .8 to .7.

“We feel great about that because we haven’t done that in the morning,” WPIX news director Bill Carey says.

It’s the least publicized “Sweeps” period, because of the much-reduced summertime viewership.

Regardless, it’s a “two-fold” victory for Channel 11. The Tribune station in the same demo last July managed only a .4 during the two-hour block.

As we reported, July 2 was a big day in the pivotal morning race. Dave Price took Greg Kelly’s spot on the couch next to Rosanna Scotto. To a much lesser extent, WCBS debuted its newest early hours entry at WLNY. A week later, Savannah Guthrie was officially welcomed as a co-anchor on NBC’s Today show.

Specific to Channel 11’s top rival, feedback has been mixed about Price’s performance and the elusive chemistry. In turn, WPIX watched as dissatisfied viewers clicked away from Channel 5.

“Our surge in ratings, growing almost double from last year suggests that people are switching the channel,” WPIX news director Bill Carey tells FishbowlNY. “And when they find us, they’re liking what they see.”

Carey admits Channel 11 has been gaining steam.

“We were trending this way even with Greg Kelly and Rosanna Scotto together,” Carey says.

WPIX has been driving the morning bus to success since anchor Rivera joined the mix last summer.

“We’ve had just short of a year under our belt of gelling a team together,” Carey says. “And now we’re one of the longer running teams on in the morning.”

However, making his maiden voyage on mornings on Channel 11 is Lionel.

The wordsmith brings a unique take to the 4 a.m. to 6 a.m. edition of the PIX Morning News. Gearing to an audience that is getting ready to start its day, time is of the essence.

“Lionel is gifted in explaining a lot of things,” Carey says. “He’s trained legally, he’s a bright mind, he’s extremely well read… He has the uncanny ability to be apolitical as he gives you things to consider about a story.

Those “things” are packaged throughout the morning in 30 to 40 seconds bulletpointed segments called “Need to Know.”

Saving a lighter personality for later in the morning, PIX is able to empower early risers.

“I wanted to make a statement about being smarter, more serious, and giving the viewers more to chew on,” Carey says.

For now, though, Lionel remains experimental in the before dawn programming, despite seeing a minimal boost as the second half of the morning.

“We’re ahead of schedule when it comes to the impact that we’ve made with our viewers,” Carey says.