Williams anchored to news race lead

Lead narrower than previous week

NBC’s Brian Williams held on to Tom Brokaw’s ratings lead in his first full week as “Nightly News” anchor.

While Williams fell back to earth after a partial first week buoyed by Brokaw’s last signoff, a week later the newly installed anchor held an 11% lead in total viewers over ABC’s Peter Jennings and a 45% lead over CBS’ Dan Rather.

This lead was narrower than the week before, when interest in Brokaw’s last signoff gave NBC’s evening newscast a 31% lead over ABC and a 61% lead over CBS.

While it hasn’t occurred in more than 20 years, anchor changes have historically led to some dropoff as a certain percentage of viewers shop around. CBS’ “Evening News” ratings dropped from a 14.1 to 13.6 (in households) the season after the switch from Walter Cronkite to Dan Rather.

But it hasn’t happened to Williams. At least not yet.

The Williams-led broadcast averaged 10.54 million total viewers last week. ABC’s “World News Tonight” drew 9.48 million viewers, CBS’ “Evening News” 7.3 million.

Conventional wisdom is that ABC’s Jennings has the most to gain from the transition at NBC and at CBS when Rather leaves the anchor’s chair in March.

Williams retained his margin, but Jennings gained viewers from last week, adding 10,000 even as portions of “World News Tonight” were preempted by “Monday Night Football” in some parts of the country.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Scene News from Variety