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Fox 25 wins race for viewers in key age group

Boston stations largely held their ground during July sweeps

WFXT-TV’s morning team, including Kim Carrigan and Gene Lavanchy, won the 25-to-54 demographic for July. WFXT-TV’s morning team, including Kim Carrigan and Gene Lavanchy, won the 25-to-54 demographic for July. (Wfxt-Tv)
By Johnny Diaz
Globe Staff / July 31, 2009

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The WCVB-TV debut of anchor Randy Price helped boost the station’s morning ratings, but it was Fox 25 that dominated that news race in the key 25-to-54 demographic for the July ratings period.

The new ratings numbers, released yesterday by Nielsen, show that WFXT-TV (Fox 25) won in total viewers at 5 a.m. with 31,900, while WCVB-TV (Channel 5) finished first at 6 a.m. with 68,000 viewers.

Rankings of total viewers for the other day and evening newscasts in Boston remained the same from the May sweeps period. WCVB won more of the day’s newscasts than any other station, leading at noon, 5, and 6 p.m., while WFXT won at 10 p.m. and WBZ-TV (Channel 4) drew the most viewers at 11 p.m.

Fox 25 executives were happy with their morning and late news performance. The station’s morning show has been growing in viewers and key demographics in the past year. From last July, WFXT gained 17,300 total viewers at 6 a.m. and attracted 23,300 viewers in the 25-to-54 demographic, the audience that advertisers covet.

“Our ratings are at a historic all-time high for the morning show,’’ said Gregg Kelley, WFXT’s vice president and general manager. “We know the viewers appreciate the product, the chemistry of the talent, and the emphasis on local, and that’s where the ratings growth has come from.’’

The July sweeps is not considered to be a crucial TV ratings period - as opposed to February, May, and November - because networks fill their primetime schedule with reruns during the summer, and viewing patterns are markedly different during the season when people tend to take vacations.

“We are proud to be the most watched television station in New England,’’ said Bill Fine, WCVB’s president and general manager, in an e-mail.

At 10 p.m., WFXT handily beat its closest competitor, WLVI-TV (Channel 56); WFXT drew 138,000 viewers to WLVI’s 44,200.

WBZ-TV pulled in the most viewers for its 11 p.m. newscast with 134,700, followed by WCVB with 125,700. WHDH-TV (Channel 7) attracted 113,500 viewers, but was the leader in the important 25-to-54 demographic.

“We are thrilled,’’ said Chris Wayland, WHDH’s vice president and general manager. “People are finding us regardless of lead-ins.’’

Johnny Diaz can be reached at jodiaz@globe.com.