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Why NBC’s “Must-See TV” is Now in News

Media Life Magazine’s Toni Fitzgerald writes about the “fall” to 4th of NBC’s primetime over the last five years — and the “saving grace” of its news programs and Jay Leno:

What’s remarkable about NBC’s daypart supremacy is that the network has not lost any ground since its primetime lineup began slipping. Fewer primetime viewers means less chance to promote its other properties, such as a big Matt Lauer interview on “Today” or a special episode of “Tonight Show.”

Yet while the network’s primetime has lost its must-see status, its dayparts supremacy hasn’t been threatened. “Press,” “Today” and “Tonight” have all won at least 46 straight quarters.

The network could be getting a boost from cross-promotion on its cable news networks, which are having strong years. MSNBC just finished ahead of CNN in primetime for the first time last month, and CNBC has seen ratings gains from the economic meltdown.

The article breaks down each ratings area, with charts and a full description of the rest of the field.

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