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Gibson’s Coverage Tops Election Ratings

Nov 8, 2006  •  Post A Comment

ABC News’ 90-minute coverage of the midterm elections Tuesday night cruised to a dominating win for Charles Gibson on his time anchoring election coverage as the network’s flagship anchor. NBC News’ Brian Williams was relegated to second place, and CBS News’ Katie Couric placed third, according to data from Nielsen Media Research.

On the cable news front, national Nielsen data from for 8 to 11 p.m. Tuesday shows CNN finishing a mere 89,000 viewers behind first-place Fox News Channel, and MSNBC nearly breaking 2 million viewers for the night.

“Dancing With the Stars,” down to three contestant pairs, gave Mr. Gibson a good jump on the competition, as did a half-hour head start. ABC averaged 9.67 million viewers for its hour and a half, according to national data from Nielsen. NBC’s crew, which included Mr. Williams’ predecessor, Tom Brokaw, averaged 7 million viewers from 10 to 11 p.m.

CBS News did not have national data available, but released fast affiliate ratings, which are all but certain to change when the network receives its national ratings Thursday. The fast affiliate numbers show the CBS election special, which included Ms. Couric’s predecessor, Bob Schieffer, averaging 7.08 million viewers, close behind NBC’s 7.19 million viewers and both well behind ABC’s 10.05 million viewers.

“We’re happy,” a CBS News spokesperson said. “It was a very competitive night.”

Meanwhile, Fox News Channel averaged 3.06 million viewers, 96 percent higher than its October prime-time average and up 12 percent from the 2002 midterm election night. CNN racked up 2.97 million viewers, up 270 percent compared with October and up 21 percent from 2002. MSNBC averaged nearly 2 million viewers, up a whopping 325 percent from last month and 107 percent from 2002.