‘Nightline’ bests ‘Leno’ as ‘Today’ tops ‘GMA’

On the home stretch to Election Day, “Nightline” edged “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” in their common half-hour during the Oct. 12-16 Nielsen week, the first victory for the ABC news magazine since the week of Aug. 24.

ABC also rebounded to tie CBS for Saturday morning in terms of household ratings and posted a more competitive finish in daytime, thanks in part to CBS preemptions due to the baseball playoffs.

NBC, meanwhile, edged “Good Morning America” in the morning battle, as “Today” posted a 4.3 rating, 20 share vs. “GMA’s” 4.1/19 and a 2.8/13 for “CBS This Morning.” The NBC margin was slightly larger among adults 18-49, with a 1.9 /23 in that demo compared to ABC’s 1.6/19 and CBS’ 1.0/12. NBC also said “Today” is up 13% in households season to date.

“Nightline” captured a 5.2/14 from 11:30-midnight to edge “Tonight” (5.0/14, 4.3/13 overall), while CBS’ “Crime Time” hours averaged a 2.8/9 on the nights that weren’t delayed due to baseball overruns, which apparently hurt “Tonight” for the week.

CBS ran its daytime winning streak to 189 weeks with a 5.2/22 but finished well back of ABC in the women age 18-49 demo, with a 3.1 rating to the alphabet web’s 3.7. ABC posted a 4.5/17 in households and NBC drew a 2.8/11 and 1.8/12, respectively, in households and the key women’s demo.

ABC and CBS deadlocked with a 3.0/12 each in Saturday morning while CBS enjoyed a narrow margin among children age 2-11, with a 5.4 average rating to ABC’s 5.2. The Fox Children’s Network continues to be competitive, posting a 4.4 with kids and 2.4/9 in households.

NBC, still at a clearance disadvantage reaching 83% of the United States, drew a 2.8/11 in households–where its “Saved by the Bell” was the only show to crack the top 10–but continues to rank first with its target teen demographic. All three other services had at least 93% national coverage.

CBS had the top three shows among kids (“Garfield,””Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “The Little Mermaid”), followed by Fox’s “Tom & Jerry Kids” and “Taz-Mania.”

In weekend sports CBS scored a super 14.9/38 with its lead-off pro football gridcast last Sunday.

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