The show easily placed first again--far ahead of second-place "World News" from ABC. "CBS Evening News" grabbed 9.5 million viewers to 6.6 million for "World News"--a 44 percent advantage. "The NBC Nightly News" didn't register with any meaningful ratings. That was due to low coverage--preemptions from NBC affiliates that were running NBC's NFL programming, the season opener between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Miami Dolphins.
Couric's Thursday outing slipped just 6 percent from the 10.1 million viewers of Wednesday night--which was off 22 percent from the 13.6 million viewers in her debut Tuesday-night opening.
Shari Ann Brill, vice president and director of programming services for Carat North America, anticipated these later-week ratings falloffs, once initial viewer curiosity waned. She expects the show to eventually settle in. It may not win every week, but it will be closely competitive with NBC and ABC.
"The CBS Evening News" still posted gains versus ratings of a year ago--up 47 percent among key adult 25-54 viewers (a 2.5 rating versus 1.7), and 38 percent higher in adults 18-49 (a 1.8 rating from 1.3). CBS says the last time it finished in first place in households on three consecutive nights was April 27-29, 1998.
In other new fall season programming, Fox's "'Til Death"--a new comedy starring Brad Garrett--averaged a middling 3.0 rating in adults 18-49, according to Nielsen Media Research overnight data. The show had to contend with strong competition from NBC's new NFL package--specifically NBC's "NFL Kickoff 2006," which earned a 4.3 among adult 18-49 viewers. "'Til Death" was off 10 percent from Fox's premiere of "The O.C." a year ago, which averaged a 3.3. Fox's other half-hour sitcom, "Happy Hour," did somewhat worse--drawing a 2.5 rating among viewers 18-49. This was off 17 percent from the "Death" ratings.
With strong numbers from NBC's football package, NBC easily won the night with a 6.7 rating/19 share among 18-49s. A distant second was CBS at 3.2/9, then Fox at 2.7/8, ABC at 2.3/6, Univision at 1.8/4, and the WB at 0.7/2.