Ch. 7’s “WCL” wins ratings of Oprah’s former 9 a.m. slot

Is Emily Barr a ratings prophet or what? Several months ago, Barr, the WLS-Ch. 7 general manager, indicated she would be pleased if her new, locally-produced morning talk show “Windy City Live” managed to pull in just half the audience talk diva Oprah Winfrey attracted to “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

The Winfrey show, which ended a 25-year run last spring, filled the 9 a.m. time slot “WCL” now occupies.

And sure enough, with one day to go in the October Nielsen ratings book, “WCL,” co-hosted by Ryan Chiaverini and Val Warner, is drawing almost exactly 50 percent of the audience “The Oprah Winfrey Show” attracted in the Chicago market in its waning months.

What’s more, “WCL” beat out all competition in the 9 a.m. hour in Chicago with a 2.6 rating.  The closest competitor was WGN-Ch. 9’s “Live! With Regis & Kelly,” which pulled a 2.1 rating.  WMAQ-Channel 5’s “Today Show” was third with a 1.9, while back-to-back airings of “Let’s Make a Deal” on WBBM-Ch. 2 could do no better than 1.0 rating.

At the bottom of the morning show pack was WFLD-Ch. 32’s “Good Day, Chicago,” with a mere 0.8.  Channel 32 has tried just about everything to improve the show’s numbers, including a new set, furniture and more recently, a new marketing campaign that emphasizes the program is bringing “news” back to morning news.  Whatever the show’s bringing, it’s not working yet.

Meanwhile, on the late local news front,  with one day to go, the October Nielsen ratings book has, per usual, Channel 7’s 10 p.m. news report sitting comfortably atop the leader board Monday through Friday.

A ratings catfight between Ch. 2 and Ch. 5

But things have gotten interesting in the middle of the pack. Most notably, what had been a hard-charging 9 p.m. newscast on WGN-Ch. 9 slumped to a 3.9 rating in October from a 5.1 a year ago. 

That put Ch. 9 fourth overall among late newscasts, but still well ahead of  WFLD’s last-place 9 p.m. newscast, which basically was flat year over year with a 2.0 rating.

There’s also a cat fight going on for second place in the ratings between Channels 2 and 5.  In October Ch. 2 appears to be winning by a hair with a 5.2 rating for its 10 p.m. newscast. It looks as if WMAQ might have to settle for third place with a 5.0. 

A WMAQ spokeswoman said the station’s prime time programming continues to disappoint and fail to drive larger numbers to the station’s late news product.  “Prime has its challenges (for us),” said the spokeswoman.

Contact Lewis Lazare at