'NBC Nightly News' tops weekly ratings

Newscast posts best numbers in three years

NEW YORK -- A week full of breaking news not only brought "NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams" to the top of the heap among evening newscasts but also its best ratings in three years.

"NBC Nightly News" averaged 10.5 million viewers and a 2.8 rating/10 share in the adults 25-54 demographic for the week ending Jan. 18, Nielsen said Wednesday. Ratings for this week, including final data for Tuesday's expanded evening newscasts, won't be available until next Tuesday.

But it was ahead of both ABC's "World News With Charles Gibson" (9 million, 2.4/8) and the "CBS Evening News With Katie Couric" (7.4 million, 1.9/7). It's the 15th win this season for NBC in viewership and adults 25-54, including one tie. "NBC Nightly News" is up 199,000 viewers season-to-date.

The show's new executive producer, Bob Epstein, said Wednesday afternoon that the show has been on a role since the Olympics with the presidential election and transition as well as the economic crisis. News from the transition, as well as the crash landing in the Hudson River of the US Airways jet, consumed much of the news last week.

Epstein said that he expects the big news to continue even after Tuesday's inauguration.

"Every problem we have been talking about is there and not going away: the economy, the two wars and how the country is going to be rebuilt and other things that are affecting people's lives," he said.
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