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It's the first big sweeps period since Boston became a five news station market, and the results are raising some questions.

It's the first big sweeps period since Boston became a five news station market, and the results are raising some questions.

In the ratings period that ended on Wednesday, the story would normally be that WFXT FOX 25 scored a win in the A25-54 demo at 11pm for the first time since February 2015. But this time, the ratings are being called into question.

In the past couple of weeks, FOX 25 has seen a sudden surge in their ratings - which did not go unnoticed at the station. A source tells New England One that station management were celebrating the sudden increase, and even had a pizza party to reward staff for their Monday night win on Tuesday.

We are told that WHDH initiated a request for Nielsen to investigate the ratings anomaly, and that the investigation is currently going on.

Before the sudden rise in the ratings, FOX 25 had been losing to WHDH at 10pm for the first time - and was also losing to WHDH in the mornings. WBZ was also on track to win at 11pm. The rise in the ratings skewed the monthly average in such a way that FOX 25 was able to pull out the wins in the morning and at 10pm against WHDH, and at 11pm against WBZ.

Nielsen is looking at whether one household is skewing the ratings in FOX 25's favor. We're told that the spike in the ratings is due to one zip code in the sample.

For example, last Friday's 11pm rating for FOX 25 was a 1.7 - but if you took out that one household from the average, their rating fell to a 0.4.

What's also curious is that FOX 25 is in fifth place, behind newcomer WBTS NBC Boston, in total households at 11pm and they are in fourth place in the p2+ demographic - but they pulled out a win at 11pm in the A25-54 demo. They beat second place WBZ by 3,750 viewers.

We're told that the excitement inside FOX 25 could be short lived if Nielsen issues an adjustment on the rating results. FOX 25 general manager Tom Raponi, who we're told grew a "ratings beard" because he's been so "pumped" about the ratings rise was freshly shaved in a meeting this afternoon.

For perspective, we're told that there are 800 people meters (the device that measures the ratings) in the Boston market. The market has 2,424,240 television households, so each meter represents roughly 3,030 households.

Both FOX 25 and WCVB released ratings results today, which you can take a look at in the chart below, and you can see the results from February 2016 here. You can also read the press releases from each station below as well.

We reached out to FOX 25, but have not heard back yet.

We will update this story if Nielsen issues corrected ratings information.

February 2017 Ratings Boston

View WFXT Press Release Here

View WCVB Press Release Here

View WBZ Press Release Here

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