Ratings for Sinclair show low nationwide

October 27, 2004|By David Zurawik

The lackluster Baltimore ratings of A POW Story: Politics, Pressure and the Media mirrored a national pattern for the controversial report on presidential politics by the Sinclair Broadcast Group last week.

In 15 of the largest markets in which Sinclair aired the show at 8 p.m. Friday, it averaged a 2.9 rating and 5 share. That means 2.9 percent of the television homes in those markets were tuned to the show, accounting for 5 percent of all the homes with TV sets in use at the time, says Nielsen Media Research.

As reported in yesterday's Sun, the program earned a 3.2 rating and 6 share in the Baltimore area - which resulted in a fourth-place ranking during the hour. And 39 percent of the Baltimore audience tuned out A POW Story before it ended.

In Columbus, Ohio, a large city in a battleground state, A POW Story notched a 4.8 rating and an 8 share on the ABC affiliate. But on the previous Friday, two struggling sitcoms (8 Simple Rules and Complete Savages) earned a 6.8 rating and an 8 share on the same station.

In Dayton, Ohio, the news was worse: a 3.8 rating and 7 share for the Sinclair show compared with a 7.1 rating and a 13 share for ABC sitcoms the week before.

The program had received vast publicity early last week when it appeared Sinclair would use the hour to air a partisan attack on Democrat John Kerry. A POW Story ultimately proved to be a more balanced look at the Vietnam War-era service records of Kerry and President Bush.

Calls to Sinclair yesterday for more ratings data weren't returned.

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