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Gibson leads news sweeps

'World' sweeps demos again

ABC’s “World News Tonight,” anchored by Charles Gibson, took another week from “NBC Nightly News” with Brian Williams and appears on track to win February sweeps.

Gibson newscast led last week in total viewers and the 25-54 demographic, marking the second time that it has won a week in both measures during February.

“World News” averaged 9.38 million total viewers for the week compared to 9.07 million for the NBC newscast and 6.91 million for “CBS Evening News With Katie Couric.”

Gibson won the 25-54 demo for the fourth straight week, bringing in 3.02 million of those younger viewers coveted by advertisers, compared with Williams’ 2.73 million and Couric’s 2.18 million.

With final ratings from the last three nights in February still pending from Nielsen Media Research, Gibson appears to have the month locked up, barring any major stumble.

It’s a disturbing trend for Williams, who finds himself in a dogfight for first place after carrying a nearly two-year head start in the job.

Williams took over from Tom Brokaw in a much-publicized handoff in December 2004. Gibson was eased into the “World News” anchor chair over the course of last summer, after spending several weeks pulling double duty as co-anchor of “Good Morning America.”

“People are still learning that Charlie is on ‘World News’ and not ‘GMA’ now; that has taken some time,” said exec producer Jon Banner.

For Gibson, the final three days of February include a much-promoted segment with Bob Woodruff on Tuesday. Woodruff’s doc about his near-death injury, “To Iraq and Back: Bob Woodruff Reports,” aired in primetime Tuesday.

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