NBC back on top of network news ratings

After two weeks of victories for CBS and new anchor Katie Couric, NBC’s evening newscast returned to first place in viewership last week.

"NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams" averaged 8.2 million viewers for the week ended Friday, according to preliminary estimates released Monday by Nielsen Media Research.

That compares with 7.7 million for "CBS Evening News With Katie Couric" and 7.6 million viewers for "ABC World News with Charles Gibson." NBC won each of the five nights.

All three newscasts finished the week with a 2.1 rating among adults 25-54, the key news demographic.

Williams’ boss, NBC Universal chairman Bob Wright, praised NBC’s No. 1 placing despite the hoopla surrounding Couric’s move to CBS.

"Brian is back where God wanted him to be, at No. 1," Wright joked Monday afternoon during an Advertising Week session at the Museum of Television & Radio.

Since Couric’s first newscast at CBS on September 5, "CBS Evening News" has made the evening news war a real race for the first time in more than a decade. Although the "CBS Evening News" is down 24% in viewership compared to its first week — while ABC is up 10% and NBC is up 15% — it’s also ahead of where it was a year ago.

Meanwhile, Wright said Monday that NBC wanted to keep Couric before she bolted for CBS in the spring. The network had been talking to her representatives about a possible syndication window, but Wright said that with the ratings-challenged experience of "The Jane Pauley Show," that idea seemed to cool in the past year. Wright said NBC had made no secret of the fact that it was going to go with Williams to replace Tom Brokaw when he retired in December 2004.

"She never really raised her hand to go in that direction," Wright said.



    I am not happy with Katie Couric at all. I have always watched CBS News and enjoyed John Roberts most. But really liked Bob Schieffer when he took over and was hoping for him to stay. I’m sorry, but I’ve switched to Brian Williams at NBC – cannot handle watching Katie do the evening news.

  2. JIM

    I have always watched CBS News but mostly enjoyed the week-end reports with John Roberts. When Bob Schieffer came aboard, I was all for him. Enjoyed his newscasts greatly. But Katie Couric doing the evening news, I don’t think so. Let her do her fluff somewhere else and bring back Bob S. or John Roberts.

  3. Jeff England

    Sorry, but Katie is just not cutting it on the evening news. She was all fluff on the Today show, why should we expect more from her now. Send her back to the minor league. Perhaps a cooking show?

  4. liz

    CBS lost out big time with the “katie show”. She spins away the day with how the current Administration wants you to interpret the news. I happened to catch Russ Mitchell this weekend though and that guy has a news show. I got confused and turned the tube back to NBC. I cannot watch Katie sex up news. I will not ever believe her. She ought to be doing a make up show or interviewing rock stars. Her version of current events sucks.

  5. Yeah, I have to agree.
    Somehow, Katie just lacks the
    gravitas to pull this off.
    I think some of it is the perpetual half smile/half smirk she wears. It really feels like “news lite”
    Bob Schieffer was great..

  6. Wedjat

    I’m enjoying the TODAY Show a bit more, even though I already feel that Veira isn’t the right choice either.

    It realy is a light-weight show without real substance. It always will be.

    Anthing that lasts more than an hour is just so much fluff.

  7. Sue

    I watched Katycouldn’t a couple of times and could not take anymore. Such a lightweight. I kept expecting a recipe segment.

  8. While surfing during the news last night I watched ABC during the first 20 min do good reporting on real news stories, meanwhile as you can see on TDS, Katie was asking Condi how a man would call and ask for a date, then on to a 5 min segment on a new type of c-leg artifical leg on an Iraq vet. I also watch CBS on the weekend, but no more, they are all acting like it is a good news place, the Today show moved to the evenings. I give her 6 months, I wish Bob was back, he did a great job, and he should have replaced Rather about 20 years ago, But how about Keith Olbermann on MSNBC-he is the new Edward Murrow(sp) he is the only one calling out GWB and Co for their lies.

  9. David Rosenberg

    As they say, The Honeymoon is over. Katie’s charm has worn off and now, she is in the real fight. She took the early lead but, being the novice she is, the flurry is over, without delivering a knock out punch. She joins the other mundane anchors, looking for the next gimmick to attract the newswatchers.

  10. Terry Yanisch

    I miss Bob Schieffer. Katie won’t be able to pull this off. You can hardly categorize Katie with Ed Morrow, Walter Cronkite or the late Peter Jennings. If CBS wants want the intellectual viewership to tune in to the news, they need to have a intellectual deliver it.

  11. glenda Strickland

    CBS is a bomb with CC….she is dull,
    over dramatic, lousy and no “reporter”
    she is just a cute little picture…but guess what? we the public dont want a
    cutzie on the national news…we have
    enough of them everywhere else….
    Bob S. was just fine thank you…Brian
    Williams is ok to look at ….
    anyway…in 30 minutes none of the
    major networks give us more than 10 minutes of censured news anyway..