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News Ratings Soar in the Wake of Katrina

(Posted September 7, 2005 by Leah Yoakum)

Television news ratings soared last week as the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina unfolded on the air, with NBC's Brian Williams a prime beneficiary.

The Williams-narrated "Dateline NBC" midweek special was the most-watched program on prime-time television.

Three other prime-time network news specials on the hurricane on NBC, ABC and CBS were among Nielsen Media Research's top 15 programs.









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Williams spent the week in New Orleans, and his "Nightly News" averaged 10.6 million viewers. That was 31 percent more than the previous week, and enough to have put the nightly news in Nielsen's top 10 if it had been a prime-time program.

ABC's "World News Tonight" and the "CBS Evening News" also gained viewers from the previous week, 21 percent and 20 percent respectively.

But those broadcasts have yet to name permanent successors to Peter Jennings and Dan Rather, so not having the network's clearly identified top news person on the scene might have hurt them competitively. NBC's margin over second-place ABC was 1.1 million, for example, up from 300,000 the week before, Nielsen said.

Ratings for the cable news networks also spiked, typical for big events. Fox News Channel averaged 2.8 million viewers last week, up 184 percent from its average this year; CNN's 2.1 million was up 325 percent and MSNBC's 766,000 was up 250 percent.

In an otherwise lackluster week for prime-time television, CBS continued its summer domination with a 7.6 million viewership average (5.2 rating, 9 share). NBC had 6.1 million viewers (4.1, 7), Fox 5.68 million viewers (3.7, 6), ABC 5.67 million (3.8, 7), UPN 2.4 million (1.7, 3). the WB 1.9 million (1.3, 2) and Pax TV 640,000 (0.5, 1).

"Nightly News" had a 7.3 rating and 14 share. "World News Tonight" averaged 9.5 million viewers (6.5, 13) and the "CBS Evening News" had 7.7 million (5.3, 10).

A ratings point represents 1,096,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 109.6 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.

Due to a miscalculation at Nielsen, its prime-time rankings do not include ABC's college football special on Saturday, but it's not expected to be among the top 25. For the week of Aug. 29 to Sept. 4, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "Dateline NBC" hurricane special, NBC, 12.2 million; "CSI: Miami," CBS, 11.6 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 11.3 million; "Two and a Half Men," CBS, 10.7 million; "Dateline NBC" (Friday), NBC, 10.7 million; "Prison Break," Fox, 10.5 million; "Two and a Half Men" (9 p.m.), CBS, 10.3 million; "NCIS," CBS, 9.4 million; "ABC News Special: In the Path of Katrina," ABC, 9.3 million; "Law & Order," NBC, 9.2 million.

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On the Net:

http://www.nielsenmedia.com



Source: Yahoo! News
 


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