Few Baltimoreans saw Sinclair show

Viewers tuned out during the hour

October 26, 2004|By David Zurawik

For all the pre-air controversy it generated, a Sinclair Broadcast Group's report on documentaries and presidential politics didn't make much of a splash with area viewers last week.

A POW Story: Politics, Pressure and the Media, which made headlines earlier in the week when it looked as if it would be a partisan attack on Democrat John Kerry, was seen in about 32,000 area homes Friday night on WBFF, Channel 45. Furthermore, the program that ultimately took a more balanced look at the war records of Kerry and President George W. Bush was tuned out in about 14,000 of those homes by the end of the hour, according to Nielsen Media Research overnight ratings.

By comparison, Joan of Arcadia, a CBS drama about a teen-ager to whom God talks, drew an audience of about 82,000 homes, while Dateline, the NBC newsmagazine, was watched in about 65,000 area homes during the same time period.

A POW Story started out in the 8 p.m. time period Friday as the third highest-rated show in Baltimore, slightly ahead of the sitcom 8 Simple Rules on WMAR, Channel 2, ABC's local affiliate. But Sinclair's program ended the hour in fourth place behind Joan, Dateline and Complete Savages, an ABC sitcom that aired from 8:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Since it was not a full national airing, overall ratings for the 40 markets in which the program was shown (on Sinclair owned or operated stations) were not available except from Sinclair. Calls to the broadcast group's Hunt Valley headquarters yesterday were not returned.

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