NBC's 'Nightly News' Leads Egypt Coverage

1:21 PM PST 02/11/2011 by Marisa Guthrie
Chris Hondros/Getty Images

While all three evening newscasts saw a spike in ratings, the network scores its highest numbers in six years; ABC’s "Nightline" also is No. 1 for the season for the first time since 1993.

Embattled President Hosni Mubarak finally stepped down today. And news organizations that deployed staff and resources to Egypt to cover more than two weeks of unprecedented protests in that country are enjoying some ratings milestones. 

Last week, all three evening newscasts saw their ratings increase. NBC’s Nightly News with Brian Williams averaged more than 11 million viewers for its best week in six years. ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer had its highest tune-in in four years, notching 9.8 million viewers while the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric pulled in 7.4 million for its best week since 2009.
 
NBC’s Williams anchored from Cairo while ABC’s Christiane Amanpour intrepidly landed the first interview (though it was off-camera) with Mubarak in the midst of the crisis. Many journalists braved hostile pro-Mubarak crowds in Tahrir Square including CBS’ Couric and CNN’s Anderson Cooper. Amanpour’s ABC News crew had the windshield of their car smashed in and the Egyptian police briefly detained CBS’ Lara Logan and her crew.
 
ABC’s late-night news program Nightline also had a good week. The show topped NBC’s Tonight Show with Jay Leno and CBS’ Late Show with David Letterman in total viewers (4.4 million). But it also beat both shows in news’ target demographic of 25-54-year olds (1.9 million) and in the younger demo of 18-49-year-olds (1.5 million).
 
That helps put Nightline in the top spot season-to-date among total viewers and the 25-54 demo for the first time since 1993.
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