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ABC’s Full Court Press for Nightline

NIghtline_7.17.jpgAs TVGuide’s Stephen Battaglio pointed out in this story after attending ABC’s presentation at the TCA Wednesday, “The PR department of ABC News has been touting Nightline’s recent strong ratings performance against The Late Show with David Letterman.”

Well, this afternoon we got another press release, with these bold headlines:

“NIGHTLINE” PLACES SECOND FOR THE WEEK

“NIGHTLINE” GROWS SECOND WEEK IN A ROW AMONG TOTAL VIEWERS AND A25-54 & INCREASES VERSUS LAST YEAR WHILE COMPETITION IS DOWN DOUBLE-DIGITS

“NIGHTLINE” CONTINUES TO SLASH TOTAL VIEWING AND A25-54 GAPS WITH BOTH “LETTERMAN” AND “LENO” — CLOSES A25-54 GAP WITH “LENO” BY 70% AND TOTAL VIEWING GAP BY 46% VS. SAME WEEK LAST YEAR

The full release is after the jump.

And all this has us wondering about ABC’s full court Nightline press, putting these ads in the industry trades and trumpeting the show’s ratings performance, just as the talk about a soon-to-be available Jay Leno heats up.

It’s premature to assume Leno will land at ABC, but not too premature to talk about the possibility. Which leaves ABC News doing all it can to defend, and prop up Nightline, which turns 30 next year, and making sure the west coast bosses hear it loud and clear. As one insider tells TVNewser, “for a show that was supposedly dead in 2002 (when ABC attempted to hire David Letterman) and supposedly dead when Ted left, it’s doing alright.”


“NIGHTLINE” PLACES SECOND FOR THE WEEK

“NIGHTLINE” GROWS SECOND WEEK IN A ROW AMONG TOTAL VIEWERS AND A25-54 & INCREASES VERSUS LAST YEAR WHILE COMPETITION IS DOWN DOUBLE-DIGITS

“NIGHTLINE” CONTINUES TO SLASH TOTAL VIEWING AND A25-54 GAPS WITH BOTH “LETTERMAN” AND “LENO” — CLOSES A25-54 GAP WITH “LENO” BY 70% AND TOTAL VIEWING GAP BY 46% VS. SAME WEEK LAST YEAR

According to Nielsen Media Research for the week of July 7, 2008, ABC News’ “Nightline” placed second for the week in total viewers and the key Adults 25-54 demographic, posting its highest delivery in both categories since the week of May 19th. This is the second week in a row “Nightline” has grown in both total viewers and the key A25-54 demo. These were “Nightline’s” largest leads over “Letterman” in total viewers and A25-54 since the week of December 3, 2007. In addition, “Nightline” grew among total viewers (3%) and A25-54 (7%) third quarter to date.

With 1.62 million Adults 25-54, “Nightline” grew 8% compared to the same week last year– the sixth week in a row “Nightline” has experienced growth or stayed even in the key demo. In comparison, “Letterman” declined 25% and “Leno” dropped 24% vs. the same week one year ago. “Nightline” beat “Letterman” by 300,000 A25-54 viewers.

Among total viewers, “Nightline” posted 3.39 million, beating “Letterman” by 530,000 viewers. “Nightline” increased 6% versus the same week last year, while “Letterman” declined 19% and “Leno” dropped 15% vs. the same week one year ago.

Versus the same week last year, “Nightline” closed the A25-54 gap with “Leno” by 70% and the total viewing gap by 46%. Season to date, “Nightline” closed the key Adults 25-54 demographic gap with “Letterman” by 78%, and with “Leno” by 51%. “Nightline” also closed the total viewing gap with CBS by 57%, with NBC by 36% season-to-date. Finally, year to date, “Nightline” closed the A25-54 gap with “Letterman” by 64%, with “Leno” by 38%. In total viewers, “Nightline’s” gap with “Letterman” and “Leno” decreased by 30% and 21% respectively year-to-date.

In a special edition of “Nightline” last Tuesday, correspondent Dan Harris traveled to Haiti where he investigated child slavery in that country. His journey was part of a five-month long investigation. “Nightline’s” hidden cameras captured three separate offers made to Harris for the sale of a ten year old child slave. Harris then met and interviewed child slaves and their masters and explored the dire conditions that drive many rural families to send their children to live in urban households with the often unfulfilled promise of a better life and an education. Finally, he followed the heroic efforts of one mother to retrieve her child from slavery.

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