'Letterman' ratings climb, still trail 'Leno'

The new year is ringing in brighter ratings for CBS latenight host David Letterman, even if his stow still trails well behind that of NBC’s seemingly invincible Jay Leno.

For the week of Jan. 12, “The Late Show With David Letterman” posted double-digit growth in all categories compared to the same week last year, according to Nielsen Media Research.

“Letterman” even scored something of a small victory over “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” — which has been trouncing the CBS yakker this TV season — by posting growth in adults 18-34. According to Nielsen, “Letterman” drew a 1.4 rating, up 17% from the same week last year. “Leno” was down 5% from last year, drawing a 1.9 rating in the demo.

“Letterman” — whose ratings were also up the previous week — averaged 4.6 million viewers, up 13% from the same frame last year. Show drew a 1.8 rating in adults 18-49, up 13% from last year. “Leno” averaged 6.3 million viewers, up 7% from last year, and drew a 2.4 rating in adults 18-49.

Elsewhere, ABC daytime talkshow “The View” saw particularly strong numbers during the week of Jan 12, tying its best showing ever among women 18-49. According to Nielsen, “The View” drew a 1.7 rating, up 24% from the same week last year.

On Sunday, NBC News’ “Meet the Press With Tim Russert” easily continued its long winning streak, with the Jan. 18 show averaging 4.8 million viewers. CBS News’ “Face the Nation” averaged 3.6 million viewers; ABC News’ “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” 2.8 million; and Fox “News Sunday,” 1.6 million.

ABC News noted that “This Week” was rescheduled in numerous TV markets because of sports programming.

In kiddie programming, Nickelodeon rated a 4.8 in kids 2-11 on Jan. 17. While mark is off 6% from the same period last year, according to Nielsen, Nick still handily dominated the Saturday ayem competition. Disney found itself in second place for the third time this year with a 2.5 for the week and a whopping 53% increase from the year previous.

Disney managed to place two shows into the week’s top 10: “Lilo & Stitch” and “Recess,” in ninth and 10th place, respectively, behind double runs of Nick powerhouses such as “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “Fairly OddParents” and “Jimmy Neutron.”

ABC and Kids’ WB tied for third place for the week with a 1.8. Alphabet edged out Tadpole in delivery, with 4,000 extra kiddie viewers (723,000). For Kids’ WB, delivery was down 49% from the same period last year. Net did much better with the tween 9-14 demo, earning a 3.1 and topping Nick’s 2.5.

Launch of “Astro Boy” on Kids’ WB got off to a slow start. “Astro” yielded a 1.5 in kids 2-11, a 51% slide from benchmark posted by predecessor “What’s New Scooby Doo.”

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