Media Life: Of NBC election dominance and The Most Interesting Man in Meadow Vista

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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There was one clear winner in the mid-term election and it’s really no surprise. KCRA 3 dominated the ratings with its Commitment 2010 election coverage. And while the Sacramento station could claim its election effort in prime time was the No. 1 program of the day, it’s also a testament to just how established as the market leader KCRA has become. While the NBC affiliate has to grapple with less-than-stellar prime time ratings for its network-originated lineup of shows, its news gets a big boost nightly from the national “Nightly News” with Brian Williams. That was all the more evident during midterm election week, when “Nightly News” and its popular anchor averaged 8.7 million viewers. Williams’ telecast that week shot up 12 percent from its average this season. Williams and “Nightly News” had its largest weekly gap between second-place ABC’s “World News” since last winter’s Olympics. And “Nightly News” has led in the ratings for 60 straight weeks nationally. But even adding “Nightly News” into the overall equation, NBC is still running a distant third in national network ratings, behind leader CBS and No. 2 ABC. That makes the Williams and KCRA success even more pronounced. For KCRA 3, election coverage meant a full-court press, with reporters stationed at key campaign headquarters for live reports on local and statewide races. In all, KCRA provided an exemplary 7½ hours of coverage – far more than any other Sacramento station. KCRA also partnered with the League of Women Voters in the Call 3 Center to answer questions from the public. It ended up taking 1,300 calls on Election Day, with questions ranging from what the various propositions meant to where viewers could go to vote. KCRA President Elliott Troshinsky said of the station’s election coverage that the hard work led to viewers turning to Channel 3. That and a big boost from Brian Williams and “World News.” Ainsleigh nickname update The Media Life call for a nickname for Gordy Ainsleigh has produced a number of potential monikers. As you may have read a few weeks back, Ainsleigh ended up improbably as the answer in a trivia question that was part of a Marlboro cigarette promotion. The Marlboro folks had asked participants in a multi-part quiz on The West to identify his nickname and a bemused Ainsleigh fielded calls from people around the country asking him what it is. Fact is, the closest Ainsleigh comes to having a nickname is just plain “Gordy.” He suggested to callers that the answer to the nickname might be The Legend, something he says he’s been called a time or two. That sparked a call-out to readers through this column for some input on the nickname issue. Media Life’s list of names now submitted for readers’ perusal is: El Gordo (sort of a derivative of “big guy”); Gordon “Lightfoot” Ainsleigh (with apologies to ESPN punster Chris Berman and Canadian folksinger Gordon Lightfoot); Ladypants (this from KAHI’s Dave Rosenthal, who reminds listeners on a regular basis that Ainsleigh has claimed to wear women’s running shorts because they cut down on chafing); online commenter ChuxxR has weighed in with “Giddy-up Gordy” and “Galloping Gordy”; Canal Guy, in recognition of his famous plunge from his bike into a Meadow Vista canal last May; The Running Viking, to highlight his Nordic heritage; and The Most Interesting Man in Meadow Vista. Based on community input on this semi-important topic, Media Life will be back with a semi-official nickname winner in a future column.