CBS up on Couric-Palin talks

'Evening News' ratings rise after last week's interviews

NEW YORK -- Katie Couric's series of buzzworthy interviews with vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin have boosted "CBS Evening News" slightly.

Couric scored an exclusive interview last week with Palin while she was at the United Nations General Assembly to meet world leaders in town for the opening sessions. Those interviews -- which included several clips that got a lot of Web traffic -- appeared on "Evening News" on Wednesday and Thursday nights.

Neither night's newscast was able to move into first or second place against ABC and NBC, though "Evening News" showed ratings increases on both nights. Wednesday's household rating was up 14% to a 4.1, compared with ABC's 5.6 and NBC's 5.3. Thursday's household rating was up 8%, compared with the 5.4 that ABC and NBC received.

CBS News declined to release internal numbers but said the traffic to CBSNews.com was "substantially higher than normal."

Meanwhile, Couric's webcast, which aired following the debate, was the most popular yet. It saw 2,000 questions for Couric and analysts submitted online before and during the webcast.

But even with all the buzz going to CBS, it didn't push the newscast beyond its traditional third-place showing for the week ending Friday. Last week, ABCs "World News With Charles Gibson" was the top show in viewership 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 demo, while NBC averaged 8 million viewers and a 2.1/9. CBS followed in third place with 6 million viewers and a 1.5/6 in adults 25-54.

CBS' newscast was up 8% in households and 10% in viewership for the week, though it wasn't as high as two weeks ago (week of Sept. 8), when it averaged 6.2 million viewers for the newscast.
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