'Nightly News' Widens Lead Over New 'World News Tonight'

ABC's refashioned "World News Tonight" hasn't gained any traction in its ratings battle with NBC's nightly news--in fact, it has lost ground.

Figures for the first two nights--when the programs went head-to-head nationwide--show that NBC had a 15 percent lead in viewers (up from 13 percent season-to-date) and an 8 percent lead in the adult 25-54 demo, double its advantage so far this season.

ABC altered "World News Tonight" after the new year, with Elizabeth Vargas and Bob Woodruff as permanent co-anchors and a live West Coast newscast--aimed at boosting ratings in the Pacific time zone by eliminating any chance that reports would grow stale with the three-hour lag.

Ratings for the Jan. 5 and Jan. 6 show "NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams" averaged 10.4 million viewers versus ABC's 9 million, and a 2.7 in adults 25-54 compared to a 2.5 for ABC.

Industry sources estimated the cost for a 30-second spot on "Nightly News" at $62,000, compared to $50,000 on ABC.



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