News ratings jump in the wake of Katrina
Published September 9, 2005
NEW YORK - Television news ratings soared last week as the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina unfolded on the air, with NBC's Brian Williams a prime beneficiary.
The Williams-narrated Dateline NBC midweek special was the most-watched program on prime time television.
Three other prime time network news specials on the hurricane on NBC, ABC and CBS were among Nielsen Media Research's top 15 programs.
Williams spent the week in New Orleans, and his Nightly News averaged 10.6-million viewers. That was 31 percent more than the previous week, and enough to have put the nightly news in Nielsen's top 10 if it had been a prime time program.
ABC's World News Tonight and the CBS Evening News also gained viewers from the previous week, both about 20 percent.
Ratings for the cable news networks also spiked, typical for big events. Fox News Channel averaged 2.8-million viewers last week, up 184 percent from its average this year; CNN's 2.1-million was up 325 percent and MSNBC's 766,000 was up 250 percent.
In an otherwise lackluster week for prime time television, CBS continued its summer domination with a 7.6-million viewership average. NBC had 6.1-million viewers, Fox 5.68-million viewers, ABC 5.67-million, UPN 2.4-million, WB 1.9-million and Pax 640,000.
Top shows, Aug. 29-Sept. 4 (previous week in parentheses; an X denotes one-time showing):
1. (X) Dateline NBC (Wed.), NBC
2. (6) CSI: Miami, CBS
3. (19) 60 Minutes, CBS
4. (36) Two and a Half Men, CBS
5. (X) Dateline NBC (Fri.), NBC
6. (X) Prison Break, Fox
7. (13) Two and a Half Men, CBS
8. (21) NCIS, CBS
9. (X) In the Path of Katrina, ABC
10. (21) Law & Order, NBC
11. (3) CSI (Thur.), CBS
12. (41) Movie: Along Came a Spider, CBS
13. (X) NFL: St. Louis at Detroit, ABC
14. (X) Auto Racing: California 500, NBC
15. (X) 48 Hours: Katrina's Fury, CBS
16. (70) Big Brother 6 (Tue.), CBS
17. (X) Preseason Showcase, ABC
18. (59) 20/20, ABC
19. (31) House, Fox
20. (12) Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS
[Last modified September 8, 2005, 11:02:03]
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