‘Nightline’ tops Leno and Letterman in viewers

ABC news series posts solid 3.93 million viewers

ABC’s news division outperformed the latenight talkers in 2010’s recently concluded fourth quarter.

“Nightline” was No. 1 in total viewers from October-December, outperforming both “The Tonight Show” and “Late Show With David Letterman.” Alphabet’s longtime post-primetime series drew 3.9 million total viewers for top honors. “The Tonight Show” was close behind with 3.8 million while “Letterman” drew 3.6 million.

Leno was best in the ad attractive 18-49 demo while “Nightline” took the 25-54 crown.

There was no particular news bump that drew viewers to the Alphabet, but the net’s 10 p.m. performance was stronger than NBC’s. Also, with the last edition of “Dancing With the Stars” featuring Bristol Palin as a contestant, many political junkies often stayed tuned to the network for “Castle” and then for the 11 o’clock local news on Monday nights, followed by “Nightline.”

“Nightline” is also tops in total viewers for season to date, through Dec. 26. That hasn’t happened since “Letterman” began his latenight run on CBS in 1993.

In August, Martin Bashir, who left the show and jumped to MSNBC, was replaced by Bill Weir. He anchors with Cynthia McFadden and Terry Moran.