WJZ-TV (Channel 13) is still No. 1. But more and more Baltimore viewers are turning to WMAR-TV (Channel 2) for news at 5 p.m., according to the Nielsen audience survey for October.
The ratings, which were released yesterday, are the first scorecard on several key changes in the local TV news landscape this fall. The biggest involved WBAL-TV (Channel 11) canceling its 5 o'clock newscast in favor of "Golden Girls" reruns. Channel 11 was going for a larger audience with the entertainment programming, but according to the latest figures the sitcom did worse than the station's last-place newscast did a year ago, losing an estimated 18,000 TV households.
Channel 2, meanwhile, was the big winner at 5 o'clock. Sally Thorner and Stan Stovall saw their audience jump by about 37,000 TV homes from a year ago. Channel 2's early news is now watched in more homes than "The Golden Girls" on Channel 11 and reruns of "The Cosby Show" on Channel 13 combined.