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Couric Ratings Fall; Newscast Still Beats Competition

Sep 7, 2006  •  Post A Comment

The audience tuning in to the “CBS Evening News with Katie Couric” for its second installment shrank by 25 percent from the premiere, but the program gave CBS its first winning newscasts on consecutive weeknights since 1999.

Ms. Couric attracted an average 10.3 million viewers Wednesday, well ahead of her competitors but down from her debut audience of 13.6 million. The newscast’s viewership still was up 38 percent from the comparable night in 2005. CBS is counting on Ms. Couric to revive ratings for the “Evening News,” which has trailed ABC and NBC’s newscast in the ratings.

The “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams” appeared to be the most vulnerable to Ms. Couric’s drawing power. Despite a decade as the most-watched flagship newscast, it finished third Wednesday night with an average of 7 million viewers, down 9 percent from Tuesday night and down 26 percent from a year ago, when Hurricane Katrina’s devastation was driving viewership up.

ABC’s “World News with Charles Gibson” finished in second in the ratings Wednesday with 7.11 million viewers, a 6 percent decline from the night before. The ABC newscast’s audience has fell 23 percent year-over year.

Ms. Couric, the former co-anchor on NBC’s “Today” morning show, also lost some 25- to 54-year-old viewers, the target audience for advertisers who promote their products in news programming. The newscast still finished up 42 percent from a year ago with those viewers. The “Evening News” rated a 2.7 rating in that age group.

In the 25 to 54 demographic Wednesday, “World News” averaged a 2.1 rating (down from a 2.3 Tuesday). “NBC Nightly News” dropped 7 percent to a 1.9 rating.

In the 55 markets where Nielsen Media Research gathers its earliest ratings data, “Evening News” lost about 23 percent of its first night’s audience.

The Wednesday “Evening News” averaged a 7.0 rating/14 share in metered markets. Tuesday night’s premiere edition averaged a 9.1/17.

The metered markets information often does not correlate directly to fast national data.

The rating represents the percentage of all TV homes in the country that are tuned to a program. The share represents the percentage of all sets in use that are tuned to the program.