WPIX Falls in February Sweeps; ‘Expect Changes Everywhere,’ Source

We told you about WABC having another successful ratings period.

That’s not the case on East 42nd Street.

WPIX was handed a gift last summer when WNYW made abrupt changes. With Greg Kelly off the mornings, WPIX had a chance to make headway against its rival.

However, Channel 5 hit the “re-do” button last month putting Kelly back on Good Day New York. Not only did the show put a dent in any Channel 11 traction, it clipped NBC’s Today show for the February sweeps.

So with that backdrop, we explore WPIX’s efforts in the period.

FishbowlNY has obtained Wednesday’s overnight ratings, and if they are any indication–Channel 11 did not do well.

For example, the 7 to 9 a.m. morning show with Sukayna Krishnan and Frances Rivera had a lowly .57 rating among adults 25 to 54. By contrast, uptown WNYW was up in the ratings with a 1.42.

A WPIX spokesperson says the focus is on year-to-year.

The PIX Morning News from 7-9 a.m. was “up a whopping 60 percent and we again finished comfortably ahead of CBS This Morning.”

Looking at the households, WNYW more than doubled WPIX (2.74 to 1.15).

But if you think those numbers are dramatic for Channel 11, just take a peek at what happens when the sun sets.

At 5 p.m., WPIX is consistently dead last among five newscasts. For example, using Wednesday’s Nielsen ratings, we see WPIX with a .82 household mark anchored on a temporary basis by Tamsen Fadal. WNYW registered a 1.94. It’s no better when measuring performance based on adults 25 to 54. WPIX had a .26, while Channel 5 managed a .87.

The station found a positive at 5 p.m., “up an impressive 67 percent and has crossed the important threshold of a .5 for a ratings period for the first time.”

An insider provides FishbowlNY with a different angle.

“Nothing at Fox can outdo what PIX has every night. There’s a ton of effort in the newsroom to get the product out, but the final product is just not good,” the station insider says. “I don’t know how, though, that numbers are ridiculously stronger on the weekends than weeknights. Kaity [Tong]/Craig [Allen] are a good duo, but Tamsen/[Mr.] G aren’t? Kinda weird.”

Despite any WPIX spin, syndicated fare in the 6 o’clock hour regularly notch better numbers than the station’s 5 p.m. news. Therefore, it would appear the time is right to drop the unneeded newscast at 5.

The WPIX late news, though, is not going anywhere. But it is floundering there as well.

The spokesperson admitted a slight drop at 10 p.m., “down a tenth of a point against a very tough playing field.” In addition, the station points to a weak CW prime time that “declined 29 percent in the quarter hour leading into 10. But there is a renewed energy from the whole team and a commitment to reverse that trend in March.”

Delving deeper, among adults 25 to 54, PIX had an estimated .78 while WNYW, now with Steve Lacy and Dari Alexander, a healthy 2.69.

But perhaps, the most decisive result in the WPIX/WNYW battle can be found at 10 p.m. in the household rating. Fox 5 more than tripled WPIX (5.08 vs. 1.49).

The source contends that Tribune, now with new ownership, will not stand for mediocrity.

“With the impending sale, and Tribune out of bankruptcy I would expect changes everywhere, from interns to management. They need to clean house,” the source says. “The same subpar product is going nowhere.”