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64 Leads 10pm News Pack

Of Nielsens, Mike Myers and overhype

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I got out the magnifying glass to search for clues (and see the tiny print) as the November Nielsen ratings ended and came my way. I know you couldn't care less about how much advertisers charge for TV spots, or how one rating point equals so many viewers. But it's interesting to track news winners and shakers, and see which national shows are a hit here and which aren't.

Winners are still everywhere except at noon at WSOC-TV. It's still the closest between their newscasts and WBTV's at 11pm, but morning and evenings aren't particularly close. We also have to wonder if WCNC-TV, which creates buzz but isn't pulling in viewers, will ever make a jump anywhere. At some point, powerful station owner Belo will have to decide whether to remain perennially last, or to start considering staff changes.

The biggest surprise is at 10pm. WAXN-64 is now first, and unaided by American Idol lead-in shows, Fox Charlotte is basically tied for second with WJZY's brand-new (WBTV-produced) 10pm program.

Elsewhere, Oprah and Dr. Phil are gangbusters on Channel 9, while Channel 3's Montel seems to be fading.

My nomination for media hoax of 2003 has to be the fawning coverage blitz afforded the newest stinker of a kid's movie, The Cat in the Hat. From NBC's Today Show, which devoted more time to special sets and Mike Myers than news from Iraq, to an hour on Oprah, this kitty litter box of a movie was going to make Thanksgiving box office cash before it even opened in theaters, as we were bombed with toy and fast food tie-in commercials. The question: did any of the powers that be anywhere actually watch this movie first? Critics from CL's Matt Brunson to the New York Times, and a rare two thumbs down from Ebert & Roeper should have been a clue. Not to mention that the creators dirtied up a classic, and sweet, children's book character. What's next, Green Eggs and Ham with Vin Diesel?

DEPARTURES AND ARRIVALS The latest to leave the Charlotte nest is WBTV weatherdude Mike Nicco, who's headed to KMSP in Minneapolis. He says he'll miss Charlotte, but the offer's too good to pass up. His last day is December 8. WSOC-TV weekend co-anchor Rob Boisvert is also leaving at the end of the year.

Stay tuned...

E-mail at Shannon.Reichley@cln.com

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