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Letterman tops, Kerrigan powerful in fringe ratings

Repeats of “Late Show With David Letterman” managed to edge “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” in Nielsen daytime and fringe ratings for March 7-11.

Still, NBC had a solid week in latenight, with improvements for its post-“Tonight” series and the highest-rated “Saturday Night Live”– courtesy of host Nancy Kerrigan — in more than 14 years.

“Good Morning America,” meanwhile, has won five consecutive weeks in the early-morning race but still trails “Today” in key demographics and leads the NBC breakfastcast by a scant 0.1 rating point through 11 weeks of the first quarter.

CBS also shows no signs of slowing down in daytime, where its household streak has grown to 262 weeks.

Letterman averaged a 5.1 rating/16 share overall, topping “Tonight” (4.6/14), which was nevertheless up 12% vs. the comparable week last year. “Nightline” ran second from 11:30 to midnight with a 5.6/16.

NBC’s other latenight shows, “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” (2.0/10) and “Later With Greg Kinnear” (1.3/9), also had good weeks, with the latter up 8% over its premiere.

In addition, the Kerrigan-hosted “SNL” skated in with a 12.2/33 nationally, the show’s best rating since Steve Martin hosted on May 17, 1980.

“GMA” averaged a 4.5/18, edging “Today” (4.3/18), while “CBS This Morning” (3 .3/14), after its short-lived Olympic bounce, slid further into third place with its lowest rating since December. NBC edged ABC in the daypart among adults 18- 49.

CBS’ daytime lineup posted a 6.2/23, compared to ABC’s 4.6/17 and a 3.0/12 for NBC. ABC did top CBS among women 18-49 with a 3.6 rating to the Eye web’s 3. 5, followed by NBC (2.1).

Fox Children’s Network stayed ahead in both households and children 2-11, with a 7 rating among kids and 3.3/12 in households. ABC posted a more competitive finish than usual, with a 5.9 and 2.9/10, respectively, while CBS (4 .1 and 2.4/9) suffered low coverage due to college basketball preemptions.

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