Couric Blasts Into Third Place
Source: DC Post CBS's Katie Couric-anchored newscast has fallen to third place in a three-way race for viewers among the broadcast evening newscasts, triggering an exuberant news release from CBS News marveling at Couric's unprecedented double-digit, across-the-board gains in her first month and celebrating her victory over the decades-old ratings curse that has plagued new anchors.
The multimillion-dollar campaign to launch Couric as anchor of the perennially third-place "CBS Evening News" delivered two weeks in which Couric's was the most-watched newscast. It opened with more than 10 million viewers and settled -- not unexpectedly -- down to about 7.9 million the second week.
Couric's slide continued in Week 3; she finished in second place with about 7.7 million viewers, behind perennial evening news winner Brian Williams, who logged about 8.2 million on NBC.
And, while final numbers on Couric's fourth week in office will come out today, it appears from preliminary stats that she has fallen to third place with about 7.5 million viewers, behind Williams's 8.2 million and Charles Gibson's 7.6 million at ABC. To get there, Williams and Gibson held firm week to week, while Couric continued to shed some viewers.
CBS News noted that last week Couric was still in first place among the 25-to-54-year-olds advertisers try to reach with news programming. In that demographic group, Couric tied Williams, and they were one-tenth of a ratings point ahead of Gibson.
In its news release, CBS slapped Couric on the back for reversing the "historic pattern of first-month losses when anchors change."
"The ratings history of network evening news anchor changes reveals a clear pattern of audience loss in the first month versus the same period a year earlier," CBS News said. "Compared to the five anchor changes of the past two decades, Couric has dramatically reversed that pattern with the broadcast's remarkable growth."