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6 p.m. local sweeps battle one to watch; "Nightly News" remains strong here


One of the more interesting things to watch locally during the May sweeps – which started on Thursday – is the local news battle at 6 p.m.

Channel 2 won that time period during the February sweeps and has been winning it for several sweeps before that.

Here’s an update on last Sunday’s column, which mentioned that Channel 4, which has dropped its traditional sportscast on the 6 p.m. news, has won that time period for three weeks over Channel 2.

Channel 4 has since won a fourth straight week narrowly and is slightly ahead this week after four nights.

However, Channel 2 won the first night of the sweeps at 6 p.m. Thursday with a 9.4 rating to Channel 4’s 8.9. Channel 7 was third with a 4.9.

In another news race of significance, “The NBC Nightly News” with Lester Holt now anchoring in place of the suspended Brian Williams is in a big tightened national battle with ABC’s “World News with David Muir.”

But locally, Holt’s newscast is still dominating on Channel 2 and ABC’s newscast is a poor third because of Channel 7’s weak lead-in.

Last week, NBC had a 9.3 on Channel 2, with “The CBS Evening News” with Scott Pelley second with a 7.5 on Channel 4 and ABC’s newscast third at 4.5 on Channel 7.

The order is pretty much the same this week, though Muir’s newscast is getting a nice bump.

On the first night of the sweeps on Thursday, the three-race was a little tighter. NBC won with an 8.0. CBS was second with a 7.3 and ABC third with a 6.5.

WNED-TV, which scored almost a year ago with a documentary it co-produced, “Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America,” is producing another program on the famed landscape architect.

“Designing America” highlighted park systems that Olmsted created in Buffalo, New York City and Boston.

The sequel, “Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing Western New Yorks,” airs at 9 p.m. May 4.

A WNED release notes that its production “captures the architect’s impact throughout Western New York. The program includes documentary segments that capture the history and context for Olmsted’s contributions and interviews with local experts that focus on how that legacy is being carried into the future.”

WNED-TV added that the film also updates “the status of the Buffalo Park System, the restoration of Olmsted’s vision for Goat Island at Niagara Falls and the rebirth of what has become known as the Richardson Olmsted Complex.”

WKBW-TV General Manager Michael Nurse reports that he hopes that the two new TV networks, LAFF and Escape, could be on two of Channel 7 sub-channels as early as today. Their local launch has been delayed by equipment issues. However, they won’t be on Time Warner Cable until May 8 because of notification requirements.

Of course, the biggest network TV story tonight is Diane Sawyer’s two-hour May sweeps interview with Bruce Jenner that ABC has been teasing in promos and in its newscasts. In a way, it is surprising that the interview is running it on Friday, one of the lowest viewing nights of the week. However, ABC might be running it then to get some people to stay home and watch.

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