Simpson Trial Keeps ‘Nightline’ In latenight Lead

The latenight battle is heating up, with “Nightline” – fueled by near-nightly recaps of the O.J. Simpson case – topping “Late Show With David Letterman” for the second consecutive week in Nielsen daytime and fringe ratings.

NBC officials, meanwhile, are scratching their heads over results for the Jan. 30-Feb. 3 week, since “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” again topped “Late Show” in overnights for the 32 big-city metered markets but lagged well behind Letterman nationally, despite the CBS latenighter’s clearance handicap. Leno has topped Letterman two consecutive weeks in the overnights, and NBC officials are said to have inquired to Nielsen about the disparity.

In results for the Jan. 30 week, meanwhile, “Nightline” delivered a 6.0 rating, 16 share, edging Letterman (5.3/16 overall) in their common half-hour and “Tonight” (4.7/14).

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