‘PrimeTime’ scores big with Condit interview
Connie Chung’s interview with Congressman Gary Condit last Thursday may not have improved his image, but it did make ABC’s “PrimeTime Thursday” the most-watched TV program of the summer and the most-watched news program since Barbara Walters’ March 1999 chat with Monica Lewinsky. “PrimeTime” attracted 23.7 million viewers and averaged a 17.2 rating/29 share, according to preliminary national data from Nielsen Media Research.
ABC affiliated stations around the country saw their late-news numbers more than double — Hearst-Argyle’s WPBF-TV in West Palm Beach, Fla., racked up an astounding 18.3/28 for its newscast following the Condit interview, which did a 25.4/39.
Meanwhile, the cable news channels did a brisk Nielsen business by talking about Ms. Chung’s interview. It was a tight race between CNN, which averaged 947,000 viewers in prime time, and Fox News Channel, which averaged 917,000 viewers in prime time; MSNBC averaged 225,000. Across five hours of live Condit programming, Fox averaged more than 1 million viewers.
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