Sweeping up in Buffalo

WGRZ News is the big winner at 6 a.m. and from 5 p.m. through 6:30 p.m.


WIVB News remains the leader in the late evening newscasts.

And WKBW Eyewitness News has seen big percentage gains from a year ago, which is easier to do when your ratings are low.

There is something positive for every local news station in the just-concluded February sweeps, which saw news viewing levels increase in most time periods from a year ago when the winter weather was decent.

According to Nielsen, WGRZ’s lead at 6 a.m. with Melissa Holmes replacing Jodi Johnston as the co-anchor on “Daybreak” alongside John Beard has grown significantly from a year ago. The rating for “Daybreak” was up more than 24 percent from a year ago to 7.2.

WIVB’s new “Wake Up!” team of Diana Fairbanks and Jordan Williams had a decent sweep as well. The station’s ratings at 6 a.m. went up almost 15 percent to a 5.5.

WKBW’s morning newscast co-anchored by Ginger Geoffery and Patrick Taney was down about 4 percent to a 2.4. In other words, Channel 2 has a slightly smaller audience than Channel 4 and Channel 7 have combined.

WGRZ’s 5 p.m. news co-anchored by Holmes and Scott Levin, its 5:30 p.m. news and its 6 p.m. news co-anchored by Maryalice Demler and Levin all averaged double-digit ratings and finished first. The race with Channel 4 was closest at 6 p.m., where Channel 4’s team of Don Postles and Jacquie Walker was within four-tenths of a point. Channel 7 was a deep third in all early evening time periods, though it experienced big percentage gains in all of them.

Holmes presumably wll get some relief soon from the early morning and early evening split shift, with newcomer Kelly Dudzik arriving from Little Rock, Ark. on Monday.

Though it may be hard to believe because remote controls make it so easy to change channels, lead-ins really matter big time. WGRZ gets a significant early evenings news lead-in advantage from “Ellen” at 4 p.m., a time period that WIVB used to dominate with Oprah Winfrey when it was No. 1 from 5 p.m. through 6:30 p.m.

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