NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - Katie Couric’s series of buzzworthy interviews with Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has given “CBS Evening News” a boost.
Couric scored an exclusive interview last week with Palin while the Alaska governor was at the United Nations General Assembly to meet with world leaders. Those interviews — which included several clips that received a lot of Web traffic — appeared on “Evening News” on Wednesday and Thursday nights.
Neither newscast beat ABC and NBC, but “Evening News” showed ratings increases on both nights. Wednesday’s household rating was up 14 percent to a 4.1, compared with ABC’s 5.6 and NBC’s 5.3; Thursday was up 8 percent to a 4.0, compared with the 5.4 that ABC and NBC received.
CBS News declined to release internal numbers but said that traffic to CBSNews.com was “substantially higher than normal.”
Meanwhile, Couric’s webcast, which aired after the first John McCain-Barack Obama debate on Friday night, was at its most popular yet. It received 2,000 questions for Couric and analysts, submitted online before and during the webcast.
CBS News and Couric received an untold number of hits across YouTube and other venues thanks to the Palin clips. Adding to that, a spoof of the Palin-Couric interview opened last weekend’s “Saturday Night Live.”
For the week ending September 26, ABCs “World News With Charles Gibson” was the top show in viewership among the evening newscasts and tied with “NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams” in the adults 25-54 demographic. “World News” averaged 8.1 million viewers and a 2.1/9 in the demographic, while NBC averaged 8 million viewers and a 2.1/9. CBS followed with 6 million viewers and a 1.5/6 in adults 25-54.
The CBS newscast was up 8 percent in households and 10 percent in viewership for the week, but it wasn’t as high as two weeks ago (the week of September 8), when it averaged 6.2 million viewers.