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Pierce: 'Talkin' Sports' blows the competition away in May

Published May 28, 2013 10:38 pm

Television • Weekend editions — as well as 'Hooked on Utah' — are programs of choice.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

They don't brag about ... er, uh, promote this as much as they do their news ratings, but KUTV-Channel 2 absolutely ran away from the competition when it came to "Talkin' Sports" during the May sweeps.

There's no way to spin this other than to say that local viewers much prefer to get their sports from Dave Fox, David James and Adam Mikulich.

There's no accounting for taste, apparently.

I kid, I kid. "Talkin' Sports" has long been the sports show of choice at my house, too. Both for local sports that already have my interest, and national sports I didn't know I was interested in before Fox, James and Mikulich started, um, talkin' 'bout 'em.

And you also might be surprised to learn how popular Gary Winterton of KUTV's "Hooked on Utah" is.

The two weekend editions of "Talkin' Sports" dominated their time slots. On Saturday nights, it's a blowout — Channel 2's "Talkin' Sports" averaged a 3.9 rating for the four editions that aired during the May sweeps; KSL-Channel 5's "SportsBeat Saturday" average a 1.7 rating. That's a 130 percent advantage for "Talkin' Sports."

In football terms, that's like losing 39-17 every week.

On Sundays, the advantage is even greater. From 10:30-11 p.m., "Talkin' Sports" averaged a 4.3 rating, more than tripling the 1.4 rating for "SportsBeat."

If you remember that KSL was the 300-pound gorilla in this competition for years, KUTV's dominance is even more remarkable.

The No. 3 weekend late-night sports show isn't on Channel 5 — it's Fox 13's "Sports Page" with a 2.3 rating. And it has the advantage of airing earlier (Sundays at 10 p.m.), when more viewers are in front of their TV sets.

When it comes to the outdoors, KUTV also dominated on Saturday nights. Channel 2's "Hooked on Utah" (11-11:30 p.m.) averaged a 2.2 rating, nearly triple the 0.8 rating Channel 5 averaged for "Outdoors with Adam Eakle."

What makes that "Hooked on Utah" number even more impressive is that it's bigger than the ratings for both the Saturday and Sunday editions of KSL's "Sports Beat," which air a half-hour earlier. Which, quite frankly, is not something I ever imagined would happen before the past couple of years.

KTVX's "At Your Leisure" (Saturday, 10:35 p.m.) matched the 0.8 rating of KSL's "Outdoors."

If there's any concern worth, um, talkin' 'bout, it's the weeknight edition of "Talkin' Sports" on KUTV's sister station, KMYU. Building an audience there has been tough — despite nightly promos on the top-rated Channel 2 newscast at 10 p.m.

According to Nielsen, the KMYU edition of "Talkin' Sports" lost ground, falling from an average rating of 0.6 to 0.4 from May 2012-May 2013. Which, in the context of the ratings other programming on KMYU is getting, is pretty much what you might expect. Sometimes better than you might expect.

But whether that weeknight "Talkin' Sports" can ever become a player in the ratings game remains to be seen.

It's worth pointing out, however, that the Jazz ended their season in mid-April this year. In 2012, they played through the first week of May before being eliminated. And not having the Jazz to talk about didn't help this year.

Although there was plenty of talkin' 'bout their demise.

Scott D. Pierce covers television for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at spierce@sltrib.com; follow him on Twitter: @ScottDPierce. —