Channel 13 (WJZ) still reigns as news king in Baltimore, but Channel 2 (WMAR) is trying to muscle its way into the royalty, at least according to the Nielsen ratings for October.
Channel 2, aided by a whopping lead-in from Oprah Winfrey's talk show, recorded an impressive 14 rating and 39 share with its 5 o'clock newscast. This is the first ratings book since Channel 11 (WBAL) abandoned its 5 o'clock news hour for entertainment programming. "Golden Girls" gave WBAL a 5 rating, 14 share at 5 p.m., while "Who's the Boss?" did a 4 rating, 11 share at 5:30, both below the numbers its 5 p.m. news did.
By way of comparison, at 6 o'clock, Channel 13's Eyewitness News has a 17 rating and 36 share, according to Nielsen. Channel 11 barely budges the meter with a 4 rating and 8 share. Channel 2's 6 o'clock half hour gets a 10/21.
That Oprah Winfrey number at 4 o'clock was a 16 rating for an astounding 50 share. That means that half the people in the Baltimore area who were watching television at that time were watching Oprah. The 16 rating means that represents 16 percent of the TV-equipped households.
Channel 2's morning talk shows also won easily.
Channel 13 continued to dominate the morning with a 10 rating, 58 share. Channel 2 managed a 2/14 between 7 and 8 a.m. while Channel 11 had a 1/10. The 10 o'clock news on Channel 45 had a 2/4.
It's hardly news that boxing is a sleazy sport and that its dominant promoter, Don King, is a man of questionable ethics. Nevertheless, tonight's edition of PBS' "Frontline" is a good package about this King and his court of fighters.
Reported by Jack Newfield, "Don King, Unauthorized," which will be on Maryland Public Television, channels 22 and 67 at 9 o'clock, shows how the ex-con King, a numbers runner and convicted killer, managed to stumble into boxing and, at a time when the fighters were black and the promoters white, use his race, and his hairstyle, to line up most of the top talent in the early 1970s.
Since then, he has had the power to virtually control the upper echelons of the sport, and few have had the ability or nerve to stand up to him. Newfield tells of his original murder conviction, of allegations of his ties to organized crime, of how he manages to use the force of his personality and his financial power to maintain his prominence though many of the fighters he has represented have ended up taking him to court.
Originally planned to coincide with the now-postponed Mike Tyson--Evander Holyfield fight, this "Frontline" shows that Tyson's career has been going downhill since he signed with King. It's a sad story of a sad sport.