‘Nightline’ tops web talkers

With the talkshow war in the headlines, ABC’s “Nightline” quietly grabbed first place in the latenight race for the third consecutive week, while “Good Morning America” edged back in front of “Today” for the July 12-18 week.

Nielsen daytime and fringe ratings also showed CBS extending its win streak in the former to 228 weeks, with a 5.8 rating, 21 share to ABC’s 5.2/18 and a 3. 1/11 for NBC. As usual, ABC enjoyed a wide margin (4.0 to 3.2) among women age 18-49, the key sales demo, where NBC delivered a 2.0.

All four ABC soaps continue to be up compared to the same period a year ago, while NBC’s new series, “John & Leeza” and “Caesar’s Challenge,” remain fairly consistent at a 2.0/8 and 1.9/7, respectively.

“Nightline” topped “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” in their common half-hour , 5.4/15 to 5.1/14. Leno delivered a solid 4.4/13 overall, compared to a 2.9/9 for CBS’ “Crime Time After Prime Time” action shows, which were delayed one night due to the baseball All-Star Game.

“GMA,” after having a 34-week winning streak snapped, began a new one with a 4.0/20 to 3.9/20 edge over “Today,” as the two tied among adults 18-49 and the NBC breakfastcast served up a narrow advantage in the 25-54 demo. The two are tied through three weeks of the third quarter. “CBS This Morning” had a 2.7/13 last week.

ABC aired only two hours of children’s programming due to its weekend telecast of the British Open, leaving CBS and the Fox Children’s Network to battle it out, with the Eye Network holding the edge. CBS delivered a 4.3 rating among kids 2-11 to Fox’s 3.8, and a 2.7/12 from 8 a.m. to noon to FCN’s 2.5/11. Fox did rank first among the slightly older demo of kids and teens 6-17.

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