NBC wins news race in quarter, CBS slumps

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - “NBC Nightly News” won a tight race against ABC’s “World News” in the second quarter, taking first place in both viewership and the adults 25-54 demographic.

The newscasts have been locked in a two-way battle, often tying in the demo and bunched up in viewership. NBC narrowly won in viewership in the first quarter but tied with ABC in the demo. In the second quarter last year, ABC beat NBC in both viewership and the demo.

This time around, “NBC Nightly News” was the only evening newscast to show a year-to-year increase in viewership: It was up 433,000 viewers with 8 million viewers and a 2.0 rating/8 share in the demo, Nielsen Media Research said. ABC’s “World News” averaged 7.8 million viewers and a 1.9/8, down 321,000 viewers compared with a year ago.

Meanwhile, the “CBS Evening News With Katie Couric” continued its slump in the second quarter with 5.6 million viewers and a 1.4/6 in adults 25-54. It dropped 528,000 viewers compared to a year ago. Couric’s job security has been under intense scrutiny since the Wall Street Journal reported in April that the former high-flyer could leave her job as early as next January. CBS has said there are no plans to oust her. Couric took over the anchor slot in June 2006.

But while Couric has been having ratings problems, she is receiving critical acclaim. The Radio-Television News Directors Assn. announced Tuesday that the “CBS Evening News” won a national Edward R. Murrow Award for best newscast, one of four awarded to the network.

ABC News led the field with a total of six Murrows, including an award for overall excellence. NBC News won a single award.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter