11Alive up, Fox 5 down in the November Atlanta TV news ratings vs. November 2009

By RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com, filed Dec. 3, 2010

Ratings don't change much in the short term when it comes to local news, but it's always good to check in every once in awhile to see how things have shifted year over year.

In general, Channel 2 Action News is holding its ground as the leader in every time slot it has news year over year. Compared to November 2009, its November 2010 results saw improvement at 6 a.m. and 5 p.m., though its numbers fell at 5 a.m., noon, 6 p.m. and 11 p.m.

Channel 2 leads in most time slots over its competitors by wide margins, sometimes doubling or tripling the No. 2. station. That has been the case for many years.

Fox 5, while still No. 2 in many time periods, has lost ground in virtually every time slot year over year. (That station has gone through major management shifts recently, with a new general manager and new news director.)

11Alive has seen improvement in most time slots, with news director Ellen Crooke putting her unique stamp on the news. CBS Atlanta is a mixed bag, with most slots down but its important 6 p.m. news up significantly. It's in last place much of the time but No. 2 at 11 p.m.

Here are time-slot comparisons during periods when there are local news programs for  November 2010 vs. November 2009. These are overall ratings. The rankings and trends didn't change to any major degree in the narrower but more ad-friendly 25 to 54 demographic.

The ratings figures below are the percentage of households who are watching that program at that time, based on Nielsen meter samplings.

4:30 a.m.: All four networks have added 4:30 a.m. news shows in the past year. Three of the four have seen improved ratings vs. what they had a year ago. Channel 2's new show is at 1.8, down from 2.6 for the former ABC national show. Fox 5 is at 0.9, up from 0.8 for "Cops" a year ago. 11Alive's local show is at 0.6, up from 0.4 for a national program a year ago. "Better Mornings" is at 0.5, up from 0.4 for the CBS Morning News feed a year ago.

5 a.m.: Channel 2 was about the same, from 3.7 to 3.6. Fox 5 fell from 1.8 to 1.5. 11 Alive held at about 1.1 in third. "Better Mornings" on CBS Atlanta held at 0.5.

6 a.m.: Channel 2 is up from 5.8 to 6.6. Fox 5 is down from 2.7 to 2.5 but holds at second place. 11Alive edges up from 2.1 to 2.2. "Better Mornings" on CBS Atlanta fell from 0.7 to 0.5.

7 to 9 a.m.: "Good Morning America" on WSB-TV was pretty similar, from 6.5 to 6.4. "Today Show" on WXIA is up from 2.3 to 2.7 and takes over second.  "Good Day Atlanta"on Fox 5 is down from 3.0 to 2.6, falling to third. CBS's "The Early Show," which just dumped its anchors and weather person, dropped from 0.7 to 0.5.

9 a.m. Fox 5's the only station with a local news show at this hour. It slipped from 2.1 to 1.8. "The Today Show" on WXIA held at 2.2. "People's Court" on CBS Atlanta was 0.7, up from the 0.4 "The 700 Club" was getting a year earlier. "Regis & Kelly" on Channel 2 WSB-TV was up from 4.1 to 4.2.

noon: People are really not into news at noon anymore. Every network lost viewers year over year. Channel 2 fell from 6.2 to 5.6. Fox 5 fell from 2.1 to 1.6. CBS Atlanta fell from 1.3 to 1.0. 11Alive fell from 1.0 to 0.9.

4 p.m.: The 4 p.m. WGCL news fell from 2.0 to 1.6. "Ellen" on WGCL is up from 2 to 2.6. Oprah on Channel 2 is up big time from 5.8 to 7.8 in her final year. The judge shows on Fox 5 are up from 3.8 to 4.2.

5 p.m.: Channel 2, riding off "Oprah," improved from 7.1 to 7.6. Dr. Phil on WXIA is way up from 3.1 to 4.6. Fox 5 slipped from 4.4 to 4.0. The new 5 p.m. WGCL news is 1.0 vs. 1.3 a year ago when it was "People's Court."

6 p.m.: Leader Channel 2 slipped from 8.9 to 8.5. WXIA took over second place by moving from 3.1 to 3.7, helped by stronger lead-in numbers. Fox 5 drooped from 4.7 to 3.5. and fell to third.  WGCL improved from 1.0 to 1.5.

7 p.m.: Brenda Wood's 11Alive 7 p.m. news held at 2.2 year over year.

10 p.m.: Fox 5's news program fell from 4.5 to 4.2 year over year.

11 p.m.: Three of the four stations saw ratings fall from November 2009. The only station to see a slight ratings improvement is WXIA-TV, which edged up from 2.9 to 3.0 in ratings and held third place. Channel 2 dropped from 8.5 to 7.0.CBS Atlanta, in second, saw its numbers droop from 4.1 to 3.6. Fox 5, fourth, fell from 2.8 to 2.4.