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The Utah Jazz may not have been able to beat the Houston Rockets, but they beat the tar out of other local programming during the May sweeps.

According to the A.C. Nielsen Co., the Jazz's run in the NBA playoffs was enormously popular. The games that aired on KJZZ-Ch. 14 averaged a 24 rating and a 36 share - this on a station that's doing pretty well if it can get a 3 out of its regular programming.Those numbers are good news for Ch. 14, but they didn't have much effect on the rest of KJZZ's schedule. We're talking mostly 1 and 2 ratings, with 3s for the afternoon broadcast of "Matlock" and the 6 p.m. airing of "Roseanne."

But even those Jazz ratings on Ch. 14 pale in comparison to the numbers that KUTV-Ch. 2 did with NBC's coverage of a Saturday afternoon Utah playoff game - an astounding 39 rating and 79 share - a total of 244,000 homes.

That's incredible.

THE LATE NEWS: The success of the Jazz - and the fact that they lasted three rounds this year, as opposed to their first-round elimination last season - put a dent in the audience for the local 10 p.m. newscasts.

Ch. 2, Ch. 4 and Ch. 5 were down a combined 4 rating points.

However, nobody at KSL is complaining - the Eyewitness News at 10 was up 3 rating points and 2 share points from May 1993. (See accompanying box.)

KUTV-Ch. 2's drop of 4 rating points and a whopping 10 share points was predictable - their numbers in May 1993 were inflated by huge ratings for the "Cheers" finale.

But KTVX-Ch. 4 was also down considerably - 3 rating points and 46 share points.

(Some of those viewers were undoubtedly watching "Star Trek: The Next Generation" on KSTU. It was up 3 rating points over what Ch. 13 did in the time period a year earlier.)

In terms of the key demographics, Ch. 2 was actually quite close to Ch. 5 - even tying them in some categories - while Ch. 4 trailed.

KSTU's 9 p.m. newscast, while still lagging behind the competition, continues to build slowly. It was up in both ratings and demographics over May 1993.

OTHER NEWS: For the first time in a while, KTVX's 5:30 p.m. news was not the most-watched early evening newscast. While Nielsen indicated that both that broadcast and KSL's 6 p.m. show pulled 10 ratings, the ratings service estimated 4,000 more homes were watching Ch. 5.

Ch. 4 was down a bit from last year, while Ch. 5 was up a couple of points.

The most surprising thing here was the huge jump KSL made in its male demographics from February - from a 15 to a 30 share among men 18-49 and from a 17 to a 34 among men 25-54.

And there's no explanation for it. It's an oddity of the rating book that cannot be explained. (There are always a number of those.)

KSL's 6:30 p.m. newscast was also up 1 rating point, and though KUTV still trails with its 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. newscasts, both were up over May 1993.

KUTV continues to lead KSL at noon. But KUTV's lead over KTVX at 6 a.m. has all but evaporated.

Nielsen shows Ch. 2 retaining a slim lead in households, but Ch. 4 has moved ahead in most key demographics.

"STAND"-ING TALL: The ABC miniseries "The Stand," which lifted that network to victory in the May sweeps nationally, also did big numbers here in Utah - where much of it was filmed.

Part 1 pulled a 19 rating and a 35 share; Part 2 a 19/35; Part 3 an 18/33 and Part 4 a 23/54.

Those are almost Jazz-like numbers.

PRIME TIME: Overall, the local numbers on the network stations pretty much mirrored what the networks did nationally during prime time in May.

KTVX (ABC) was first with a 12/21 (up 2 rating points over May 1993); KSL (CBS) was second with an 11/20 (up 1 rating point); KUTV (NBC) third with an 8/15 (down 3 rating points and 7 share points); and KSTU (Fox) fourth with 5/10 (down 1 rating point and 3 share points).

Again, KUTV and NBC's rather large drop helps explain the drop in Ch. 2's 10 p.m. news ratings.

SIGN-ON TO SIGN-OFF: These numbers don't mean a whole lot - nobody sells advertising based on them - but the averages of each station's overall ratings are rather interesting.

KTVX and KUTV tied for first with 6/19s; KSL was third with a 5/18; KSTU fourth with a 3/11; and KJZZ, on the strength of those Jazz games, doubled its rating from May 1993, pulling a 2/8.

This is the first time in a long time KSL didn't finish either first or second in sign-on to sign-off.

LETTERMAN VS. LENO: David Letterman is the favorite late-night host here in Utah, just as he is nationally.

Letterman's "Late Show" averaged a 5 rating and a 24 share, while Leno's "Tonight Show" trailed with a 4/14. That's 31,000 homes to 26,000 homes.

What makes Letterman's win all the more amazing is that he comes on later (even considering KUTV's "Jazz Updates") when fewer viewers are watching TV.

AMAZING "M.A.S.H.": It's hard to believe, but the late-night "M.A.S.H." just keeps rolling along. It averaged an 11 rating in May, up an amazing 5 points over May 1993.

EARLY EVENING: The big surprise here is the big hit that both "Wheel of Fortune" and "Jeopardy!" took.

"Wheel" (11/24) was down 4 rating points and 10 share points from May 1993, and "Jeopardy" (12/26) was down 3 rating points and 10 share points. Both continue to win their time periods, however.

"Entertainment Tonight" (9/19) did nicely for KUTV at 6:30 p.m., up 2 rating points and 2 share points over last year.

KSTU continued to do well with its sitcom lineup from 5 to 7 p.m. - it was up across the board, with even "Coach" (6/13) showing improvement, doubling the rating and nearly doubling the share Ch. 13 had at 6:30 p.m. last year.



Local news ratings

Here are the local news ratings, according to the A.C. Nielsen Co., for the May sweeps periods. The numbers listed are rating points/share points; the lower number is the estimated average number of total households tuned in to a particular broadcast.


6 a.m. 3/32 3/28 --- ---

22,000 19,000

Noon 7/34 --- 5/24 ---

42,000 30,000

5 p.m. 8/21 --- --- ---


5:30 p.m. --- 10/25 --- ---


6 p.m. 8/16 --- 10/22 ---

48,000 65,000

6:30 p.m. --- --- 8/18 ---


9 p.m. --- --- --- 5/8


10 p.m. 11/17 8/14 19/31 ---

66,000 51,000 120,000