News nets post strong ratings as Baghdad falls

NBC continues dominance over ABC, CBS

WASHINGTON–News networks continued to post strong auds as Baghdad fell to U.S. military forces last week, with ABC’s evening newscast showing the most growth in the key 25-54 demo over the course of the war in Iraq.

For the week of April 7, NBC continued to dominate over broadcast rivals ABC and CBS, while Fox News Network kept an easy lead over cable rivals CNN and MSNBC, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Each of the broadcast nets showed an increase in viewership last week, although CBS made the cut only by the slimmest margin.

Increases across the board

NBC “Nightly News with Tom Brokaw” drew 10.8 million average viewers, up 16% versus the same week last year.

ABC “World News Tonight with Peter Jennings” drew 9.71 million average viewers, up 5%. CBS “Evening News with Dan Rather” drew 7.99 million average viewers, up 1%.

During the first three weeks of the war, ABC’s evening newscast posted the best overall showing in terms of the 25-54 demo, up 13% compared with the same time frame last year.

NBC was up 10% in this demo, while CBS was down 5%.

ABC was only up 2% in terms of total viewers during the first three weeks of the conflict. NBC was the clear victor, posting a 10% gain. CBS was down 6% in terms of overall viewers compared with the same three weeks last year.

Cablers still strong

At the cable nets, ratings continued to run strong. Fox News drew 4.13 million average viewers, a 244% increase versus the same week last year, according to Nielsen.

CNN drew 2.86 million viewers, up 184%. MSNBC drew 1.49 million, up a whopping 305%.

Aud numbers, however, did diminish at cable nets when compared with the previous week.

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