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May 1, 2007
TV ratings surprise

In case you haven't noticed, the TV "sweeps" period for May has begun. And our four local TV news stations are ramping up their "special reports" (more on that in a future Media Savvy column).

Anyway, a breaking story is like gold to a TV news operation during sweeps, so it's interesting to chart how things went on Sunday morning when the tanker truck exploded near the Bay Bridge.

Now, anyone familiar with TV news in Sac knows that Channel 3 typically rules all breaking-news stories. In fact, there's an old story that TV reporters around here love to tell: If a plane crashed right next to News10's studio, thousands of Sacramentans would tune into Channel 3 to see what happened.

But, a funny thing happened Sunday: According to the overnight Nielsen ratings, "Good Day Sacramento" beat Channel 3 for three hours (7 to 10 a.m.). Channel 3 had a 2.9 rating during that stretch, while "GDS's" lowest rating was a 3.4 (7 a.m.), and it swelled to a 5.2 at 9 a.m.

"GDS's" weekend crew used its interactivity with viewers to its advantage. It received hundreds of e-mails from viewers concerning alternate routes, sharing viewer "stories," etc. It also did the traditional reporting, sending a live crew to the scene.

Once again, the weekend edition of "GDS" seems more relevant than the unfocused, too-cute weekday edition of the show in which "cutting edge" is having some clownish host dress in a chicken suit.

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