NBC’s early morning, early evening and late-night programs carried on Channel 2 are the big local winners during the November sweeps.
But the decline in combined viewership in all network time periods compared to a year ago is eye-opening.
From 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., the three national morning programs have dropped a combined 22 percent. At 6:30 p.m., the three national newscasts have dropped a combined 14 percent, and at 11:35 p.m. the three late night programs have dropped about 24 percent.
The improved local weather this November compared to last year could be one factor in the drop.
Additionally, more and more viewers -- especially younger viewers -- may be content with watching highlights of the shows online or watching them later On Demand. And then there's the possibility that viewers are choosing sleep over the late night shows.
Let’s take a look at the three time periods programmed nationally:
Late Night: In the first sweeps period since Stephen Colbert replaced David Letterman as host of CBS’ “Late Show,” the local order of finish is the same as it was a year ago. NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” (3.0) is first, followed by Colbert’s “Late Show” (2.5) and ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live (2.0) on Channel 7.
Kimmel has closed the gap here with his rivals by having the same 2.0 rating as he had a year ago despite getting the lowest local lead-in from Channel 7. Fallon (down from a 4.3) and Colbert (down from Letterman’s 3.5) have seen large percentage drops. However, the demographics that will arrive later will tell the full story. Colbert replaced Letterman and Fallon replaced Leno because they were expected to draw younger viewers than their older predecessors.
Early Morning: NBC’s “Today” (6.2) on Channel 2 gets a local rating higher than the combined rating of “Good Morning America” (3.3) on Channel 7 and “CBS This Morning” (2.8) on Channel 4. Buffalo has always been a huge “Today” market. In May, Channel 2 had the highest or second highest rating or share for “Today” in the country among all NBC affiliates in metered markets. Nationally, “Today” and “GMA” are locked in a very tight race, with NBC’s program experiencing a recent recovery.
Evening News: “The NBC Nightly News” on Channel 2 wins with a 9.6 rating, with “The CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley” (7.5) on Channel 4 second and “World News Tonight with David Muir” (5.0) third. Pelley does much better here than he does nationally and Muir much worse than he does nationally. That has more to do with the strengths of the local CBS and ABC affiliates than the anchors’ performance. Nationally, "Nightly News" and "World News" are in a tight race for first place.