Channel Surfing
By Laura Nachman
March 10, 2002

            The news that WCAU-10 wants you to know instead of the Sharon Reed/Alicia Taylor battle is that for the third time in the last four sweeps periods, WCAU-10 defeated WPVI-6 in the late news ratings.  With lots of help from the Olympics, WCAU-10 finished with an 11.2 rating (with the news running at 11:30 p.m. on Olympic nights) to a 10.9 rating for WPVI-6, which had virtually no help from the ABC prime time lineup. But third place KYW-3 was the only station whose ratings went up at 11 p.m. from a year ago.  Much of the credit can go to new 11 p.m. anchor Denise Saunders who has won over many viewers and critics with her pleasant style, as it’s impossible not to like her.  

            At 10 p.m. despite changing everything but the kitchen sink, WTXF-29 continues to lead with a 5.0 rating.  WPHL-17 is a distant second with a 2.3 rating.  Their new news director, Chuck Carter begins next week.   And for the second consecutive ratings period, Fox’s “Good Day Philadelphia” outperformed “The Early Show” on CBS.  WTXF-29 insiders say there is a good chance that a minority candidate will take over for Rich Noonan at 10 p.m. and that an outsider will replace Donya Archer in the morning.

            WPVI-6 continues to lead in the other time periods including 5 a.m., noon, 5 p.m., and 6 p.m.  At 6 p.m., Jim Gardner, Gary Papa, and Dave Roberts beat Channels 10 and 3 combined.   However the “NBC 10 News at 4” is closing the gap on “Oprah.”  The talk show queen dropped to an 8 rating while WCAU-10 has a 6 rating. 

            In other ratings notes, “The Weakest Link” is living up to its name with a weak 3.0 rating at 4 p.m. for KYW-3.  That isn’t helping the cause for their 5 p.m. news, which continues to lose to “Judge Judy” or their 6 p.m. show, which has lower ratings than “Frasier” on WTXF-29.  The top rated syndicated show in town is “Jeopardy” with a 16.1 rating for WPVI-6 at 7:30 p.m.   ABC’s “General Hospital” is Philly’s favorite daytime drama with a 6.1 rating at 3 p.m.  The top late night show is NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” with a 5.5 rating.  Each local rating point equals 28,010 households.  Other ratings winners include “Good Morning America,” “Live with Regis and Kelly,” “Rosie O’Donnell,” “The View,” “The World News Tonight with Peter Jennings,” and “Wheel of Fortune, (is it just me or does Pat Sajak look like Gary Condit)” all on WPVI-6. 

            Meanwhile, Sharon Reed continues to be missing from the WCAU-10 early morning news. Reed has been off the air since February 20, after a nasty online war of words about the anchor and NBC 10 reporter Alicia Taylor was made public.