Newscasts Finding Success in Post-Oprah World

By Merrill Knox 

With Oprah Winfrey’s resignation from daytime television last spring, some local stations filled her former timeslot with a newscast, hoping to find an appetite for more locally-produced content. So how are they doing? TVNewsCheck takes a look today at the ratings in the top 25 markets, finding that while most newscasts can’t match Oprah’s audience, the programs are still advantageous to large-market stations:

Steve Riley, WSB’s creative services director, says the newscast is performing well among coveted demographics, placing No. 1 in the time period with adults 25-54 during October to date. In addition, the news audience is more evenly divided between men and women, with women making up 46% of the newscast’s audience compared to 76% of Oprah’s.

“We did our homework,” Riley says. The station added reporters, photographers and writers along with its news hour, he says. “We are bringing in that much more content.”


In Portland, where KGW created the third 4 p.m. news in the market, the station’s Richard Jacobs says he, too, is getting the viewers he wants. “We launched the show on Sept. 12 and so far we are leading the market in the key demographic, women 25-54,” he says.