ABC News soars with Palin interviews

'World News,' 'Nightline,' ABC site all see big numbers

NEW YORK -- Charles Gibson's exclusive interview with Sarah Palin lifted ABC to victory at 10 p.m. Friday with the best ratings for a "20/20" in six months.

The "20/20" Palin interview averaged 7.9 million viewers and a 2.1 rating/6 share in the adults 18-49 demographic, according to preliminary estimates released over the weekend by Nielsen Media Research. That's up 133% in the demo from its lead-in and 24% higher in adults 18-49 than the second-place "Dateline." It was the top show of Friday night in viewership and adults 18-49.

The program included the third of three interviews with the GOP vice presidential candidate, along with reports from Alaska and a roundtable discussion. Friday night followed a winning two days for ABC News, which was riding high in the ratings thanks to those three exclusive interviews.

Both "World News With Charles Gibson" and "Nightline" won in their time periods in the metered markets Thursday nights, all thanks to the set of exclusive interviews between Gibson and Palin in Fairbanks and Wasilla, Alaska. And, where the network first put clips from the interview, also boosted its traffic.

"World News" averaged 9.7 million viewers and a 2.5 rating/10 share in the adults 18-49 demographic in the metered markets, Nielsen Media Research said Friday afternoon. It was its highest viewership since last February and ahead of second-place "NBC Nightly News" by more than 2 million viewers.

ABC News' "Nightline" and its 4.2/10 in the overnights stomped traditional leader "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," which averaged a 3.3/8, and was ahead of "Late Show With David Letterman" and its 3.6/9 rating. saw 3 million pageviews between Thursday night and Friday morning, including 600,000 streaming videos for the Palin interview.