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NBC May Be Poised to Finish Fifth, But WNBC is ‘Staying the Course’ with Prime Time Lead-In

The February sweeps period, which helps determine ad rates for local stations, ends next week. But reports already show a dubious distinction for NBC. For the first time in its history, Comcast’s newest property will be dead last. Actually to clarify, that’s not third place among the “Big Three” networks, or fourth with Fox. NBC dropped to fifth, behind Univision.

That means the key coveted demographic of 18 to 49 year olds, would rather watch those shows than English-language broadcasts on NBC.

That also means having such a weak lead-in has to be more than a slight distraction to affiliates.

While the official numbers won’t be released until Thursday, it doesn’t take an M.I.T. graduate to figure how this will really hurt all levels of 30 Rock. But the station is more hopeful.

“As you know, sweeps continue for another week,” a WNBC spokesperson tells FishbowlNY. “We are holding 100 percent of the prime time lead-in audience, which is what we did last year, so we are staying the course.”

Channel 4′s 11 p.m. newscast is already deep in transition, not typically a word that generates big ratings.

Last summer, Channel 4 made a change that simply put, marked the end of an era. With Sue Simmons and her 32 years not renewed, the venerable Chuck Scarborough was left with upstart New York anchor Shiba Russell on the 11 p.m. broadcast.

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