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Scandal Doesn’t Dent CBS’s News Ratings

Sep 29, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Nielsen Media Research data for the week of Sept. 20-24 indicates that “CBS Evening News” is not suffering from fallout related to the controversy over suspect memos cited in a story reported by “Evening News” anchor Dan Rather on the Sept. 8 edition of “60 Minutes.”

“Evening News” averaged a 4.9 national household rating/11 share for the week ending Sept. 24. Because the week of Sept. 13-17 was driven by coverage of Hurricane Ivan, CBS News looked at the three weeks starting Aug. 23, Aug. 30 and Sept. 6 and found that “Evening News” averaged a 4.8/10 — slightly below its average last week.

Nor do the ratings suggest that “Evening News” competitors are benefiting from the CBS news scandal, which is now being investigated by former Attorney General Richard Thornburgh and former Associated Press President Louis Boccardi.

Last week, “NBC Nightly News” averaged a 6.8/15 (compared with a 6.7/14 Aug. 23 through Sept. 10), while “ABC World News Tonight” averaged a 5.8/12 (compared with its three-week average of 5.6/12).

Meanwhile, “Nightly News” dominated the flagship newscast race last week, averaging 9.439 million viewers, a 16 percent advantage over “World News” (8.138 million viewers) and 38 percent over “Evening News” (6.865 million).

For NBC last week was the seventh consecutive week “Nightly News” has had an advantage of more than 10 percent over “World News Tonight.”

Compared with the same week in 2003, “Nightly News” was the only network evening newscast to grow (up 7 percent). ABC’s “World News” was down 7 percent, while CBS’s “Evening News” was down 6 percent.