“CBS chose the middle of the summer for Norah O’Donnell to debut as ‘CBS Evening News’ anchor, so probably should not be surprised that not too many people noticed,” David Bauder reports for the AP, citing Nielsen figures indicating that an average of 5.24 million people watched the newscast last week, O’Donnell’s first week.
That keeps CBS in third place behind ABC’s “World News Tonight,” which averaged 7.9 million viewers, and “NBC Nightly News,” with 6.9 million.
Last week’s CBS figures were “essentially unchanged from the week before, when Jim Axelrod was the substitute host,” Bauder notes.
“Statistics being statistics, there are different ways you could look at O’Donnell’s performance. CBS says the numbers are trending up ever-so-slightly from the previous month,” the report adds. “Yet compared to the same week a year ago, CBS was down 5 percent in viewers and even more sharply among viewers aged 25-to-54, the age group upon which most advertising sales for news programming are based. Year-to-year, NBC is also down 5 percent and ABC is up 1 percent.”
The report quotes CBS News President Susan Zirinsky saying: “Judging numbers after only one week is meaningless.”