The Best of the WestNew season, new local shows in Los Angeles 9/13/2010 05:13:00 AM Eastern
Things are heating up in Los Angeles. The famed Santa Ana winds, which can
fuel the dreaded Southern California wildfires this time of year, are starting to
stir, and the divorce trial involving Frank and Jamie McCourt, embattled owners
of baseball’s beloved Dodgers, is dominating the news. “It’s the gift that keeps
on giving, news-wise,” says KNBC President/General Manager Craig Robinson.
As always, there’s no shortage of stories in the No.
2 DMA, and the L.A. stations are up for the challenge.
KNBC has a new newsroom chief in Vickie Burns,
formerly of sister NBC O&Os WNBC New York and
WRC Washington. Adding a 4:30 a.m. newscast last
spring, KTTV features six hours of local morning news.
KCBS launched a joint Website with the local CBSowned
radio properties at CBSLosAngeles.com Sept.
1. KTLA has a lively Twitter approach, showcasing all
that makes L.A., well, L.A. (Sept. 3: “Zsa Zsa Gabor’s
Husband Wants to Plastinate Her Body After Death”).
But KABC commands the news battles in town.
Surprising no one, the ABC-owned station dominated
the May sweeps, winning all major races, including
the 11 p.m. news with a 4.2 household rating/9
share, ahead of KMEX’s 4.0 rating/9 share. Stations
are playing for second place: KTTV took it 5-7 a.m.,
Univision’s KMEX grabbed it at 6 p.m. and KCBS was
runner-up in total day household ratings. Fox-owned
KTTV was also second in primetime, and won the 10
p.m. news race over Tribune’s CW affiliate KTLA and
CBS-owned independent KCAL.
KABC President/General Manager Arnie Kleiner says
the key to the station’s success is a degree of diversity
that matches the city itself. “We try to be L.A.,” he
says. “This is probably the most diverse city in America.
On-air and around the station, people see that
Nearly 45% of residents in the DMA claim Hispanic
origin, according to BIA/Kelsey. The Spanish-language
options are myriad. Among them, Univision owns
KMEX, TeleFutura affiliate KFTR and a batch of radio
stations; NBC owns Telemundo affiliate KVEA; and
Liberman Broadcasting has Estrella outlet KRCA.
Stations are geared up for the new season. Foxowned
MyNetworkTV affiliate KCOP has How I Met
Your Mother. KABC produces the rookie fitness show
Custom Fit for the ABC group’s Live Well HD digital
channel, which launches a new season Oct. 4. NBC
Local Media’s KNBC debuts Daily Connection at noon
Sept. 13; it features the day’s best clips from NBC’s
various media outlets, fronted by KNBC talent.
Robinson says NBC’s new prime schedule pops like
it hasn’t in years. “It’s my 28th pilot season, and I’ve
never felt better about the lineup than I do now,” he
KCBS added a 4:30 a.m. news Sept. 7. President/
General Manager Steve Mauldin says the station saw
“a great opportunity to provide viewers with an early
look” at weather, news headlines and traffic.
Automotive advertising is humming once again,
the film industry is increasing its TV spending and,
it being the Golden State and all, issues money has
driven a strong political year that will only heat up
in the coming weeks. “Political has been good all
throughout 2010,” says KTTV/KCOP VP/General
Manager Kevin Hale, who aired the Barbara Boxer-
Carly Fiorina senatorial debate, produced by the Bay
Area’s KTVU, Sept. 1.
KABC is one of a handful of Oprah Winfrey stations
to tip its hand as to what it will air when Winfrey steps
off the broadcast stage next year. Despite its strength
with local programming—KABC also produces the
weekly celeb show On the Red Carpet for the rest of
the ABC group—it will go with Dr. Oz. Unlike most
markets, Oprah runs at 3 p.m. in Los Angeles. “We did
the research and we think Dr. Oz has a chance to be a
great news lead-in,” Kleiner says. “We like the show,
and we like him.”
General managers here say Nielsen added 50 homes
to the L.A. market sample in late August, bringing the
grand total of households to 1,000 and giving a more
accurate read on who’s watching what in the City of
Angels. “It should add reliability to the ratings,” Hale
points out, “with less fluctuation day to day.”
A big chunk of those new Nielsen homes are likely
tuned into KABC. When there’s something big in the
market, whether it’s an earthquake or those wildfires,
KABC execs say it’s common for their audience to surpass
KCBS and KNBC combined.
“Whenever there’s any kind of breaking news, our
numbers just skyrocket,” says KABC Director of Research
Dennis Aimino. “People come to us before they
go to the competition.”