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‘Nightline’ tops latenight before Letterman arrival

“Nightline” won the last week of the pre-Letterman era in latenight, edging “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” in Nielsen daytime and fringe results for Aug. 23-27.

That gave the ABC news show eight wins in nine weeks, most recently with a 5. 0 rating, 14 share in its half-hour, compared to a 4.9/14 (and 4.2/13 overall) for “Tonight,” which led in all key demos.

CBS, which will win the Aug. 30-Sept. 3 period thanks to intense interest in the premiere of “Late Show With David Letterman,” a week earlier averaged a 3.1/ 9 in its lead half-hour of “Crime Time After Prime Time,” a figure more than doubled by the early Letterman numbers.

Elsewhere, “Today” (4.0/20) edged “Good Morning America” (3.9/19) and has now been first three of the last four weeks — a feat the NBC breakfastcast hasn’t achieved since Oct. 23-Nov. 13, 1989. NBC also led among adults 18-49 with a 1.8 to ABC’s 1.5.

“CBS This Morning” remained a distant third with a 2.6/12 and 0.9 in the key adult demo. It will be interesting to see whether the show enjoys any lingering benefits from the web’s stronger latenight presence, based on the assumption that viewers are more apt to watch the morning show that’s on the same channel they turned off the preceding night.

“GMA” still leads “Today” through nine weeks of the third quarter, 3.9/20 to 3.8/20, followed by CBS (2.6/13).

Daytime yielded few surprises, with CBS ranking first in households for the 234th consecutive week — exactly 4 1/2 years in the catbird seat. Averages for last week were CBS, 5.5/20; ABC, 4.9/17; NBC, 3.3/12.

ABC was first, as usual, among women age 18-49, but by a narrower margin, with a 3.7 to CBS’ 3.2 and a 1.9 for NBC. The Peacock did record its best share yet for “John & Leeza” (2.0/9), edging ABC’s “Home.”

Fox Children’s Network ranked first among children and households in Saturday morning and generated some major sampling for its weekday morning show “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers,” which ranked first among kids 2-11 with an 8.2/33 behind “X-Men.”

With the other webs achieving no better than 86% coverage due to sports preemptions, and FCN at 95%, Fox averaged a 3.2/13 overall in households compared to a 2.5/10 and 2.4/10, respectively, for CBS and ABC. Averages among the kids demo were Fox, 6.0; CBS, 4.1; and ABC, 3.9.

ABC’s first college football telecast of the season, Florida State’s rout of Kansas, hauled in a 4.3/14.

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