Election helps boost the nets’ ayem shows, newscasts

News-related fringe ratings surged during the pre-election Oct. 26-30 Nielsen week, boosting “Nightline” as well as the network morning shows.

“Good Morning America” edged “Today” with a 4.7 rating, 19 share to a 4.6/19, though the NBC breakfastcast enjoyed a slight edge, 2.0 to 1.9, among adults 18- 49 and had its best weekly results since the Persian Gulf war broke out in January 1991. “CBS This Morning” (3.2/13, 1.1 among key adults) also surged to its best rating since March 1991.

“Nightline” (5.4/16) also won its common half-hour against a week of original episodes of “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” (5.2/15 from 11:30 to midnight, 4.4 /14 overall). CBS’ “Crime Time” shows averaged a quiet 2.8/9.

Interest in the election also translated into the highest ratings for NBC’s “Meet the Press” (3.8/14) and the Sunday edition of “Today” (3.1/16) since the start of the Persian Gulf War and January ’92, respectively.

CBS, meanwhile, ran its daytime winning streak to 191 consecutive weeks, with a 5.7/22 vs. ABC’s 4.5/17 and a 2.9/11 for NBC. As usual, ABC led among women age 18-49, where the averages were ABC, 3.7; CBS, 3.2; NBC, 1.7.

The Fox Children’s Network continues to scare up Saturday morning, tying ABC and CBS in households on Halloween and finishing a strong third among children age 2-11.

Fox also premiered an animated version of the Marvel Comics group “The X-Men” and scored big with teens, though the show will take a hiatus after this weekend (see related story, this page).

CBS, ABC and Fox each averaged a 3.5 household rating from 8 a.m. to noon, while ABC was a solid first among kids, with a 6.4/22 average in that demo compared to CBS’ 5.6/20 and a 5.3/18 for Fox. Saturday morning is the only daypart where Fox enjoys a clearance advantage, reaching 94% of the U.S., compared to 91% last Saturday for ABC and CBS.

NBC averaged a 2.8/10 in households, including Saturday “Today,” and reached 81% of the country.

CBS dominated the weekend sports battle with a 19.1/35 for its Dallas-Philadelphia gridcast, drawing a higher rating than most prime time “Monday Night Football” games.

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