Atlanta local TV news ratings jumped after pandemic began

Local Atlanta TV news ratings have jumped sharply since the pandemic began except during early mornings. Game shows such as “”Jeopardy” and “Family Feud” have also benefited. 

Stations largely saw local Nielsen ratings rise from March 11 to April 30 this year versus last year. The ratings are also up in most cases compared to the previous six weeks before the pandemic really began. 

The only time period where ratings consistently dropped off year over was between 4:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. With fewer people getting up early to commute to work, this makes sense. 

Some non-news shows that saw notable ratings jumps locally year over year: ABC’s “The View” (up 57%), CBS’s “The Price is Right” (up 32%), ABC’s “General Hospital” (up 42%), the CW’s “Family Feud” and both 11Alive’s “Wheel of Fortune” (up 44%) and “Jeopardy” (up 47%). 

For news programming, the biggest growth in ratings came at noon, when more people are now home watching live television. Channel 2 Action News nearly doubled its ratings year over year during that time. The network also saw huge ratings gains during the 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. newscasts. The other broadcast network news programs also saw gains during those time periods. 

All four networks also saw comparable growth for their key 11 p.m. newscasts, ranging from 29% to 45%. 

The highest rated show across the board was ABC’s “World News Tonight” on WSB-TV with a 13.4 rating and a 25 share in Atlanta. It was the only program to reach double digits in ratings. 

Overall, Channel 2 Action News/WSB-TV continues to dominate among local newscasts in overall ratings, with Fox 5 a strong  second. This has been the case for many years.

In the key 25-54 demographic for advertisers, the two stations are neck and neck in the mornings and the 11 p.m. newscasts with WSB-TV winning the evening ratings race. “Good Day Atlanta” in that demo soundly beats WSB’s “Live With Ryan and Kelly” and “The Kelly Clarkson Show” mid mornings. And the 11:30 p.m. portion of “Fox 5 NewsEdge” beat WSB’s mix of “Nightline” and “Kimmel.” 

11Alive and CBS46 lag far behind in most dayparts against the other two stations. 

Here is an hour-by-hour ratings breakdown from 4:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. covering March 11 through April 30, 2020, based on Nielsen ratings.  The ratings numbers in parentheticals are from the same period a year earlier for comparison in cases where they are the same or comparable program.

4:30 a.m.

WSB Channel 2 Action News 2.4 (2.3) -4%

Fox 5  Good Day Atlanta 1.7 (1.7)

CBS46 Morning News 0.4 (0.5) -20%

5 a.m.

WSB Channel 2 Action News 3.0 (3.3) -9%

Fox 5 Good Day Atlanta 2.3 (2.3)

11Alive Morning Rush 0.6 (0.7) -14%

CBS46 Morning News 0.4 (0.6) -33%

6 a.m. 

WSB Channel 2 Action News 4.4 (4.8) -8%

Fox 5 Good Day Atlanta 3.3 (3.4)  -3%

11Alive Morning Rush 1.0 (1.3) -23%

CBS46 Morning News 0.5 (1.0) -50%

7 a.m.-9 a.m.

WSB Good Morning America 6.4 (5.2) +23%

Fox 5 Good Day Atlanta 4.8 (4.2) +14%

11Alive Today 2.1 (1.6) +31%

CBS46 This Morning 1.1 (0.9) +22%

9 a.m.

Fox 5 Good Day Atlanta 5.0 (3.6) +39%

WSB Live With Kelly and Ryan 4.2 (3.3) +27%

11Alive Today 1.4 (1.5) -7%

CBS46 700 Club 0.6 (0.4) +50%

10 a.m.

Fox 5 Good Day Atlanta 4 (3.2) +25%

WSB Kelly Clarkson Show 3.1 (Right This Minute 1.7) +82%

CBS46 Let’s Make a Deal 2.0 (1.8) +11%

11Alive Today 1.4 (1.1) +27%

CW69 America’s Court 0.6 (0.7) -14%

11 a.m.

WSB The View 4.7 (3.0) +57%

CBS46 The Price is Right 3.8 (2.6) +32%

Fox 5 Wendy Williams Show 2.6 (The Real 1.8)

CW69 People’s Court 1.1(1.4) -21%

11Alive The List/America Says, then Dateline 0.8 (Atlanta & Co. 0.5)

Noon

WSB Channel 2 Action News 7.1 (3.7) +92%

Fox 5 News 3.1 (2.0) +55%

CBS46 News 2.8 (1.9 +47%)/ Young and the Restless 2.9 (3.0)

CW69 Judge Mathis 1.1 (1.2) -8%

11Alive News 0.7 (0.5) +40%

1 p.m.

WSB Pandemic: What You Need To Know 4.6 (2.0)  +130%

CBS46 Young and the Restless 2.9 (3.0)/The Bold and the Beautiful 2.4 (2.1)

Fox 5 The Real 1.9 (TMZ Live 1.9)

11Alive Days of Our Lives 1.5 (1.7) -12%

CW 69 Paternity Court 1.1 (0.9) +22%

2 p.m.

WSB General Hospital 3.7 (2.6) +42%

Fox 5 TMZ Live 2.3 (Page 6/Access 1.5)

CBS46 The Talk 1.5 (1.4)  +7%

CW69 Couples Court 0.9

WATL Steve Wilkos 0.6 (0.7) -14%

Peachtree TV Hatchett 0.6 (Mablean/Hatchett 0.7)

11 Alive The Daily Blast 0.5 (0.6) -16%

3 p.m.

Fox 5 Divorce Court 2.3/ Judge Judy 3.4 (Steve 2.4)

WSB Tamron Hall 2.0 (Dr. Oz 1.8)

CBS46 Dr. Oz. 1.6 (Dateline 1.1)

11Alive Dr. Phil 0.9 (1.4) -36%

4 p.m.

WSB Channel 2 Action News 5.2 (3) +73%

Fox 5 Judge Judy 4.3/ Fox 5 News 3.8 (Judge Judy 4.1)

CBS46 News 1.7 (1.3) +31%

11Alive Ellen 1.2 (1.7) -29%

CW69 Personal Injury Court 0.5 (Mathis 0.5)

5 p.m.

WSB Channel 2 Action News 7.4 (4.3) +72%

Fox 5 News 4.5 (3.7) +22%

11Alive News 1.7 (1.4) +21%

CBS46 News 1.6 (1.4) +14%

CW 69 Paternity Court 0.9 (0.9)

WATL Maury Povich 0.5 (0.7) -29%

6 p.m.

WSB Channel 2 Action News 8.9 (5.6) +59%

Fox 5 News 4.3 (3.6) +19%

11Alive News 3.1 (2.5) +24%

CBS46 News 1.8 (1.8)

6:30 p.m.

WSB Channel 2 Action News 8.9 (5.8) +54%

11Alive NBC Nightly News 5.6 (4.2) +33%

Fox 5 News 4.3 (3.3) +30%

CBS46 CBS Evening News 2.2 (2.2) 

CW69 Family Feud 1.4  (0.9) +56%

Peachtree TV Modern Family 0.5 (1.0) -50%

7 p.m.

WSB ABC World News Tonight 13.4 (10.0) +34%

11Alive Wheel of Fortune 4.6 (3.2) +44%

Fox 5 Dish Nation 2.6 (2.4) +8%

CW69 Family Feud 1.7 (1.2) +42%

CBS46 Big Bang Theory 1.4 (1.8) -22%

Peachtree TV Last Man Standing 0.5 (Goldbergs 0.8)

7:30 p.m.

WSB Entertainment Tonight 7.7 (6.3) +22%

11Alive Jeopardy 6.6(4.5) +47%

Fox 5 TMZ 2.7 (2.9) -7%

CW69 Family Feud 2.2 (1.7) +29%

CBS46 The Big Bang Theory 1.7 (2.0) -15%

8-11 p.m prime-time various shows

WSB 4.7 (4.1) +13%

Fox 5 (til 10 p.m.) 3.9 (3.0) +30%

CBS46 3.1 (3.1)

11Alive 2.8 (2.5) +12%

Peachtree TV 0.8 (0.7) +14%

10 p.m.

Fox 5 News 4.9 (4.3) +14%

WATL 11AliveNews 0.5 (0.6) -17%

11 p.m.

WSB Nightbeat/Tonight 6.2 (4.8) +29%

Fox 5 News Edge 3.8 (3.1) +23%

CBS46 News 2.5 (1.9) +32%

11Alive UpLate 1.6 (1.1) +45%

11:30 p.m.

WSB Nightline/Kimmel 3.5 (Kimmel 3.3)

Fox 5 News Edge 3.1 (2.5) +24%

CBS46 Colbert 1.8 (2.3) -22%

11Alive Fallon 1.2 (1.2)

CW69 Two and a Half Men 0.5 (2 Broke Girls 0.5)

Midnight

WSB Kimmel/Nightline 3 (2.8)

Fox 5 TMZ 2.2 (1.9) +16%

CBS46 Colbert 1.1 (1.6) -31%

11Alive Fallon 1.0 (0.8) +20%

CW69 Two Broke Girls 0.6 (Mike & Molly 0.5)

12:30 a.m.

WSB Kimmel 2 (Nightline 0.2)

Fox 5 Access Hollywood 1.7 (Page Six 1.6)

11Alive Seth Myers 0.8 (0.8)

CBS46 James Corden 0.6 (1.0)

CW69 Two Broke Girls 0.5

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism.
AJC.com. Atlanta. News. Now.

Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism.
AJC.com. Atlanta. News. Now.

About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
X