After 11 years of dominating the No. 1 slot for 10 p.m newscasts, KPNX-TV (Channel 12) dropped to No. 2, according to ratings released Thursday by Nielsen Media Research.
KPHO-TV (Channel 5) secured the No. 1 ranking for the first time in the 10 p.m. time slot.
Channel 5 vice president and general manager Steven Hammel credits the victory to a number of variables, including the hiring of Kent Dana, who signed on with the station, leaving Channel 12, in 2004.
“The hiring of (Dana) accelerated our growth,” Hammel says. “We gained viewers. (Channel 12) lost viewers. ... Prior to Kent, we had a very specific strategy of bringing viewers what we thought was compelling information of what they wanted, which was live, late-breaking and investigative stories. We started that before Kent, and we've been continuing that.”
Hammel speculates Channel 12's ratings probably dropped because it lost key faces in the last two years.
“They had a number of people leave their station,” he says. “Kent Dana was one. Sean McLaughlin, their weather person, was another.”
Hammel also credits Channel 5's strong CBS primetime lineup — which includes ratings powerhouses “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “CSI: Miami,” “CSI: New York,” “Without a Trace,” “Survivor” and “Two and a Half Men” — for helping to topple Channel 12's reign.
“We have the No. 1 primetime network, so that certainly contributes to our success,” he says.
When asked what's in store for Channel 5, Hammel says: “To continue doing what we're doing best, which is providing viewers with the content that they asked us to and to continue keeping our news anchor lineup the way it is because it's a winning combination.”