Quake shakes up ayem, ‘Nightline’ ratings

Ratings for the network morning programs soared during the Jan. 17-21 Nielsen week in the wake of Los Angeles’ major earthquake, which also produced the highest “Nightline” rating in nine months.

CBS scored a 31.6 rating/54 share nationally with Sunday’s Dallas-San Francisco football playoff game, down slightly from last year, while NBC enjoyed a double-digit boost with its Kansas City-Buffalo showdown, which tackled a 28.6 /58.

As for Nielsen daytime and fringe ratings, “Good Morning America” (5.6/21) won its 21st consecutive week with the program’s highest rating since the week ended March 1, 1991. The show also equaled NBC’s “Today” (5.2/20, its best household numbers since October 1989) with a 2.2 rating among adults 18-49.

“CBS This Morning” (4.1/15, 1.4 among key adults) also recorded its highest rating since the program premiered in 1987. Averages for all three programs exclude Jan. 17, when the networks went to continuous coverage in the quake’s aftermath.

NBC’s Saturday “Today” (4.1/16) had its best rating since March.

“Late Show With David Letterman” (6.1/18 overall, its best average since premiere week) edged “Nightline” in their common half-hour, 6.9/18 to 6.3/16. “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” (4.6/13 overall, 5.4/14 from 11:30 to midnight) also had a strong week as viewing levels climbed in latenight.

NBC’s “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” (1.8/8) had its best week since Dec. 27 .

The three webs were up in daytime averages, which excluded Monday. CBS posted its 255th consecutive victory with a 7.2/23, compared with ABC’s 5.3/16 and NBC’s 3.4/10. The Peacock network premiered two talkshows with meager results, as its Leeza Gibbons talker posted a 2.3/8 while the transferred-from-syndication “Jane Whitney Show” attracted a 1.4/4.

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