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Couric, Still Champ, Loses More Viewers

Sep 8, 2006  •  Post A Comment

The “CBS Evening News With Katie Couric” finished first for the third night in a row Thursday with a comfortable lead over its closest competitor, despite a third straight loss of viewers. According to fast national data from Nielsen Media Research, nearly 9.5 million viewers watched Thursday’s edition of “Evening News.”

While that is down from Wednesday’s 10.3 million viewers and the 13.6 million viewers who watched Ms. Couric’s debut Tuesday, it is still a 45 percent increase over the newscast’s performance on the comparable night in 2005.

ABC’s “World News With Charles Gibson” finished second Thursday with an average 6.6 million viewers. “NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams,” which is ordinarily the most-watched flagship newscast, was factored out of the national results for Thursday because it was preempted in so much of the country by the prime-time kickoff of NBC’s NFL coverage.

The “Evening News” also had the best performance Thursday among 25- to 54-year-old viewers, the viewers targeted by news programmers and advertisers promoting products in news programming. The 2.5 rating among 25- to 54-year-olds was an increase of 47 percent from a year ago. “World News” was down 36 percent from a year ago to a 1.8 rating.

Ms. Couric’s Thursday-night 6.4 rating and 13 share in 53 of the markets where Nielsen Media Research collects early ratings data represented a 9 percent decline from the night before. The “Evening News” edged out ABC’s “World News Tonight with Charles Gibson” and “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams,” which both posted an average 5.3 rating and 11 share.

Three days into its run, “CBS Evening News with Katie Couric” still is luring larger audiences than the program did a year ago, with 39 percent more viewers tuning in. The network, whose newscast has languished in third place behind network competitors, is getting a boost from viewers curious to see how Ms. Couric handles the anchor desk after years co-hosting NBC’s “Today” morning show.

Thursday’s newscast viewership was affected by NBC’s prime-time NFL kickoff broadcast, which meant that “NBC Nightly News” was broadcast in only 45 of the metered markets. Audience data from St. Louis and Milwaukee was delayed Friday morning.

Ms. Couric’s debut as anchor of the “CBS Evening News” on Tuesday averaged a 9.1 rating and a 17 share in the metered-market sample.

Fast national data showing total viewership and demographic performance will be available Friday afternoon.

Ratings represent the percentage of all TV homes in the area being measured that are tuned to a program. The share represents the percentage of all sets in use that were tuned to a show.