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Viewers to Late-Night News: Later

Frank Ahrens

Today in Style, John Maynard reports that all three local TV stations showed precipitous drops in viewership for their 11 p.m. newscasts, compared to last year.

At least one station manager repeated the typical excuse: Bad "lead-in," or lightly watched shows in the 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. slot.

Yeah, okay. Maybe that's part of it.

But the stations are fighting the same trend as newspapers: Viewers seeking their news elsewhere.

For instance, why do local stations even do sports anymore? Can viewers get more Redskins/Wizards/Capitals news, video and gossip from 6 minutes on TV than they can from 100 Internet sources?

I, for instance, am in the news business and I cover the media and entertainment industries and I can't remember the last time I sat down to watch the 6 p.m. news, much less the 11 p.m. news. And I'm pretty well-informed.

How about you? Do you still watch the nightly news broadcasts, at 6 p.m. or 11 p.m.? If you do, tell me why. If not, say where else you get your news.

Today In The Post:

* Good news if you're looking to buy a big-screen TV for the holidays: Big box stores are in a price war. Ylan Q. Mui reports.

* Technology allows filmmakers to further blur the line between reality and fiction, as they seamlessly insert historical footage of Princess Di and Bobby Kennedy into current films. Desson Thomson reports in Style.


* New studies of the "world's first computer" (ancient Greece!) show it to be even more sophisticated that first thought.

By Frank Ahrens  |  November 30, 2006; 10:31 AM ET  | Category:  Frank Ahrens
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I usually watch the 11pm news, mostly out of longstanding habit and just to get a summary of what happened during the day and whatever video clips might be relevant. But usually I just have it on while I'm online checking out the Post stories that will be in the morning paper (which I do continue to read). I'm rarely home in time for the 6pm news and anymore I can't imagine devoting an hour or more to it.

Posted by: Cosmo | November 30, 2006 3:26 PM

It's 11:30. I guess everyone is watching the news...

Posted by: Cosmo | November 30, 2006 11:29 PM

I still watch 6 & 11 PM broadcasts, selectively. Primarily I watch for local weather forecasts, information about local stories that might interest or affect me, and I watch, hopefully, for announcements that at least one station will no longer carry any coverage of atheletic competitions or late night talk shows hosted by self-agrandizing hosts who offer entertainers and performers the chance to tout their latest attempt at movies, music, or to pander their selves to a public that should be reading.

Posted by: stev | December 1, 2006 4:36 PM

Bad lead-ins? The 10:00-11:00 slot has the best shows on TV, IMO - Studio 60, 3Lbs., Shark...and more.

I do watch 11:00 news (not usually home in time for 6:00) because it gives me a final update on local news and weather, and I like the video. By contrast, video offered online usually makes you sit through a commercial first and sometimes hangs in the download even with broadband.

I also still read the print version of the Post, it's much more satisfying somehow than reading off a computer screen. But I check the e-version frequently during the day for updates and Web-only content.

Posted by: Pam | December 4, 2006 4:07 PM

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