Playing for Sweeps

One says: "We clobbered you in 18-to-24-year-old redheads with acne who sip Perrier."

Another says: "We smoked you in 25-to-34-year-old hairdressers with gang tattoos who guzzle Red Bull."

We say: Spare us.

Ratings, that instrument of ecstasy and agony for local and network TV types alike, can be sliced into demographics thinner than prosciutto.

We'll concentrate on overall household numbers calculated by Nielsen Media Research for the just-concluded May sweeps -- that quarterly measurement of viewers' preferences that determines ad rates -- that spanned from April 29 to May 26. Comparisons are year-to-year, from May 2009 to May 2010:

■ As viewer erosion continues due to now-familiar villains chewing up their audience base -- cable, DVRs, TV shows on websites such as Hulu, iPads, iPhones, iAnything -- KLAS-TV, Channel 8 topped the sign on to sign off kit and caboodle on the back of CBS programming and grabbed the primetime title, trailed by KVVU-TV, Channel 5, KTNV-TV, Channel 13 and KVBC-TV, Channel 3.

■ Most weekday news crowns from midday on went to Channel 8 at 4, 4:30 and 11 p.m.

■ Channel 8 also ruled at noon, though its numbers were off 30 percent. Similarly (skipping second-place "All My Children" on Channel 13), third-place "News 3 at Noon," now helmed by Kim and Dana Wagner and featuring Channel 3 owner Jim Rogers' interview segments, lost 33 percent in viewership.

■ Early evening crowns go to Channel 3 at 5 and 6 p.m., besting Channel 8 and linked into a winning 90-minute block by "NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams" at 5:30.

■ A bright spot shone at night for Channel 13, brushing by Channel 3 to take second place at 11 p.m. Otherwise, the "Action" newsies shuffled between third and fourth place in most slots, down 34 percent from 11 a.m. news, and 33 percent from 6 p.m., both fourth-place finishers.

■ Enough politically minded viewers -- especially during the primary season -- found Channel 3's "Face to Face with Jon Ralston" at its relocated 6:30 p.m. slot to snatch third place, topping its only local competition, Channel 13's fourth-place news, and not far behind "Inside Edition." That other shoe dropping: "Face to Face" hemorrhaged 47 percent of the 6:30 audience from last May, when "Jeopardy" reigned there. Time-slot champ? "Two and a Half Men" on KVMY-TV, Channel 21 (Cox Cable 12).

■ Over at Channel 5, the 5, 5:30 and 11 p.m. newscasts landed last, 5 p.m. taking a 42 percent viewer hit from last year. Facing network competition, though, its hourlong 10 p.m. newscast did inch ahead of Channel 3's NBC primetime. But its new 4 p.m. "More" triggered mass defection, down 76 percent from last year's "Judge Joe Brown."

■ On the early a.m. beat, two newbies made the scene: Channel 8's extra-early 4 a.m. news finished No. 1 against nonlocal programming, while the tacked-on 4:30 half-hour of "Wake Up with the Wagners" earned second place behind Channel 8.

■ On the main 5-7 a.m. battlefield: Channel 8 took 5-6 a.m., the "Wagners" were the choice at 6-7. Virtually tying Channel 8 for second at 6, Channel 5 lost nearly 40 percent off its once-dominant 6-7 a.m. viewership. At bottom: Channel 13.

■ At 9 a.m., two intriguing results: Channel 8's "Let's Make a Deal" reboot ranked second locally behind "The Today Show." However, the game show, taped at the Tropicana, still lost 30 percent of local viewers from "Oprah" in that slot last year.

And Channel 13's news/lifestyle hybrid ranked a poor fifth, topped by Channel 5's morning "More," among others, and off nearly 50 percent from "Regis and Kelly" there last year. Ironically, in a fight for the cellar, Channel 13's newscast beat out "Regis" at its new home at KVCW-TV, Channel 33 (Cox Cable 6).

Replacing that newscast next month will be the locally produced, advertiser-driven "Morning Blend."

■ Finally -- for a late-night chuckle of the Nielsen kind -- Jay Leno's "Tonight Show" (Redux) lost 31 percent of Vegas-area viewers from Version 1.0 to Version 2.0. Even with a caveat -- Leno's temporary late-night goodbye last May hiked his ratings higher than normal, making the tumble appear steeper -- it's enough to adjust The Chin's Monday night segment intro:

"Time for Headlines! ... Letterman Leads."

Contact reporter Steve Bornfeld at or 702-383-0256.