ShelbyFest propels WCCO to first 10 p.m. demo win in 24 years

Don Shelby may have taken his sweet time retiring from WCCO-TV, but November’s long goodbye helped the station to its first 10 p.m. win among the ad-coveted 25-to-54-year-old viewers since 1986. For what it’s worth, Ronald Reagan was president, it was the last time a DFLer won the governorship and the year before the Minnesota Twins won their first World Series

According to a WCCO release, that station’s 5.9 rating among 25/54s edged KARE’s 5.7; KSTP finished third with a 3.4. Ratings reflect a percentage of all TV-equipped households. Among all viewers, WCCO racked up a 13.3 to KARE’s 7.9 and KSTP’s 6.2.

Station spokeswoman Kiki Rosatti says WCCO’s November was already up 33 percent in the first three weeks of the month; the final week of former Shelby co-anchors and his final telecast upped that to 34 percent.

Since it’s not practical to off a long-time gray-haired anchor every sweeps month, competitors will no doubt look to the next ratings book to see if WCCO’s 10 p.m. strength has any staying power. (And even then, the station still has a major problem building on CBS’s gargantuan prime-time numbers.) However, WCCO also posted demographic victories at 5 p.m., noon and 4:30 a.m., while finishing second at 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. and third (closely bunched) at 5 a.m.

The station claims year-to-year ratings growth of 34 percent at 10 p.m., 27 percent at 6 p.m, 9 percent at 5 p.m., 60 percent at 6 a.m., 25 percent at 5 a.m. and 50 percent at 4:30 a.m. I haven’t yet talked to snarky competitors to get their take on those numbers.

Here are the 25-54 numbers (updated with KMSP’s 10 p.m. ratings); the figures for all adults are listed further down:

10 p.m.
WCCO 5.9; 110,410 households
KARE 5.7; 106,940
KSTP: 3.4; 64,790
KMSP: 2.0; no cume given 

9 p.m.
KMSP 2.8; 53,160

6 p.m.
KARE 3.1; 59,030
WCCO 2.8; 52,300
KSTP 2.2; 42,240

5 p.m.
WCCO 2.4; 44,660
KARE 2.2; 41,580
KSTP 1.7; 31,890
KMSP 1.3; 23,840

WCCO 1.2; 21,870
KSTP 1.1; 21,190

6 a.m.
KARE 2.1; 39,430
WCCO 1.6; 30,720
KMSP 1.4; 26,180
KSTP 1.2; 23,240

5 a.m.
KSTP 1.0; 19,550
KARE 1.0; 19,120
WCCO 1.0; 18,820
KMSP 0.7; 12,950

4:30 a.m.
WCCO 0.6; 11,170
KSTP 0.6; 10,790
KSMP 0.3; 6,450
KARE 0.2; 4,490

All households:

10 p.m.
WCCO 13.3; 232,620
KARE 7.9; 138,800
KSTP 6.2; 108,600
KMSP: 3.2; no cume given 

9 p.m.
KMSP 5.2; 90,540

6 p.m.
WCCO 10.0; 175,140
KARE 6.2; 108,790
KSTP 4.6; 81,340

5 p.m.
WCCO 8.3; 145,830
KARE 6.1; 107,250
KSTP 4.0; 69,530
KMSP 2.4; 41,220

WCCO 4.8; 83,320
KSTP 4.0; 69,660

6 a.m.
KSTP 3.5; 61,660
KARE 3.2 56,250
WCCO 2.9; 50,780
KMSP 2.5; 44,090

5 a.m.
WCCO 2.1; 36,220
KSTP 2.1; 35,950
KARE 1.3; 22,860
KMSP 1.1; 19,160

4:30 a.m.
KSTP 1.3; 22,000
WCCO 1.2, 21,800
KMSP 0.6; 9,760
KARE 0.4; 7,550

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Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by Jim Swanson on 11/29/2010 - 11:56 pm.

    I’m no fan of Fox news properties, be they local or mothership. But is there a reason why 9’s 10pm newscast wasn’t included in the analysis?

  2. Submitted by David Willard on 11/30/2010 - 12:10 am.

    Gotta love DFL Don. He’s going away??? in style. Saw how he criticized the unwashed citizenry by implying we read what we want and watch those news stations that agree with our wroldview. I don’t ignore it Don. I can’t. One can hardly avoid the New Left Progressyves who dominate the airwaves and almost every newspaper. (I still love newspapers) As far as Television news goes, most of it is fluff. You were a big hitter, Don. You could have flexed some muscle and continued to lead WCCO in hard news, but you didn’t.

  3. Submitted by Tim McNeill on 11/30/2010 - 12:45 am.

    Makes you wonder why the new V.P. in charge over there let Scott Liben go. I mean this whole exit was orchestrated by Lieben before he was given the axe!! This is just the type of problem WCCO has had since CBS took control. They rotate people in and out the door over there that anyone who works to build something is gone. I have to imagine that having Pat Miles, Colleen Needles, and Paul Douglas on set made a huge difference. I would love to see a break-down of which “guest” scored a higher rating for their ten p.m. apperance. I have a feeling the younger crowd was eager to see what Paul Douglas had to say since his abrupt departure. And, the older set who remembers Pat Miles and Colleen Needles must have turned out to see how and if they had changed. A demographic break-down would be very interesting. I said it before and will say it again, these type of retirements bring in good ratings and are a good way to pass the torch on to the next guy. It will be very interesting to see if this goofy husband and wife approach has any real long-term legs. WCCO has had a rich history of placing strong lead anchors (Don Shelby and Dave Moore)in the important roles. Frank V. just does not appear to be someone that has any real strong journalistic presence or, a strong enough personality to carry that torch. Being paired with your wife is not going to float this boat alone. I look forward to future ratings books and a further break-down of the numbers during the “guest” week. Also, if you have noticed since removing directors for the broadcasts, WCCO is painful to watch. The election night coverage was so painful I thought I was having a root canal done. Tapes don’t roll, names are wrong, camera changes are late, etc. There are many issues over there and Don leaving is not going to change any of that. WCCO’s newscasts are so sloppy and cosmetically ugly that the focus now needs to be on those areas.

  4. Submitted by Steve Rose on 11/30/2010 - 07:34 am.

    Could the cause of the ratings spike have been something other than the Shelby send-off? If you didn’t watch the guy deliver the news, why would you tune in to witness his departure party?

  5. Submitted by scott gibson on 11/30/2010 - 12:54 pm.

    I’m sure CBS, not Don Shelby, decided the shape of the news broadcast. People tuned in because they USED to watch Shelby give the news with those other people. If they are like me, they have probably abandoned much of TV news because of how inconsequential, un-newsy, or sensationalized it has become, without regard to a particular channel. They are all varying degrees of BAD. And, for myself, this includes the cable news outlets, which have polarized a portion of our country without enlightening it. Avoid them. Shelby’s leaving is simply a reminder that, at one time, TV news was better than it is now. With our fragmented media of today, it is not likely to return.

  6. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 11/30/2010 - 08:01 pm.

    I used to try to catch the local shows on a pretty regular basis probably 10 years ago, now it seems I’ll tune in only if there’s some major local story. I watched that whole lead up week simply for the nostalgia fix with Miles, Needles and Douglas. They all still had that touch. Also really struck me how the whole market back then really had this wealth of talent and now seems especially at some shops, the standards have dropped noticeably. Personally I think Julie Nelson has a more to do than people might think with KARE’s current success, simply because she not only comes across as competent and but has that ability to connect genuinely with the TV audience.

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