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Ch. 4 tops in households ratings, Ch. 2 tops in demos in November sweeps

WIVB-TV's (Channel 4) switch of morning co-anchors from Brittni Smallwood to Melanie Orlins has hardly been an instant success.

The extended medical leave by Channel 4 anchor Don Postles didn't injure the station's ratings.

WGRZ-TV (Channel 2) anchor Scott Levin's brief dalliance with the automotive industry doesn't appear to have cost the station many viewers.

WKBW-TV (Channel 7) is making some small but noticeable gains and a big one at noon.

Those are the top takeaways from the just-concluded November sweeps period.

The battle for TV news superiority between Channel 4 and Channel 2 is a tight one in household ratings. In the seven key time periods, Channel 4 can proclaim victory with a total of 43.1 ratings points to 41.3 points for Channel 2.

However, Channel 2 undoubtedly will continue to claim it is No. 1 in promos, which in the small print notes it refers to demographic ratings that are most important to advertisers.

There is an asterisk connected to its demographic victories.

Unlike household ratings that are entirely determined by 400 meters in Western New York, demographics here are determined by a confusing, complicated formula that includes comparing the Buffalo market to several major cities.

As it did in the 2016 November sweeps, Channel 2 wins in household ratings at 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. and has added 5 a.m. to its victory column.

While losing the 5 a.m. time slot it won a year ago, Channel 4 has taken the household lead over Channel 2 at 5:30 p.m. and continues to win at 6 p.m., 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. despite the several days that Postles missed during the sweeps and Dave Greber ably handled some of his anchor duties.

Channel 7's most impressive gains come at noon, where the newscast anchored by Keith Radford has significantly closed the household gap on Channel 4's newscast anchored by Orlins. Radford's noon newscast actually wins the key 25-54 demographic.

It has been a tough first sweeps book for Channel 4's "Wake Up!" with Orlins alongside Jordan Williams. A year ago, it was first at 5 a.m., 3.1-2.6. It loses the hour this time to Channel 2's "Daybreak," 3.3-2.5, and its 25-54 demographic rating has slipped, too.

A year ago, Channel 4 won at noon over Channel 7, 7.9-5.1. This time around, the lead is 6.6-5.4. (Channel 2 doesn't compete in the half hour).

However, it is a marathon and not a sprint and more viewers may sample the morning newscasts after "Daybreak" co-anchor John Beard leaves at the end of the year and will be replaced by Adam Benigni.

It is only one sweeps period but this obviously isn't the result Channel 4 hoped for when Orlins came aboard.

The other noticeable change is at 5:30 p.m., where the Channel 4 newscast anchored by Nalina Shapiro wins in households, 8.4-7.5, over the Channel 2 newscast handled by Levin and Maryalice Demler. A year ago, Channel 2 barely won, 8.0-7.9. However, Channel 2 still has a big advantage at 5:30 p.m. in the 25-54 demo.

In a way, all three stations can claim victory.

Combined household viewership is up from a year ago at 6 and 11 p.m. and pretty steady in most other time periods compared to last year, when the big news was the presidential election of Donald Trump and its aftermath.

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