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Couric's Debut Tops News Ratings

Curious viewers tuned in in droves to see Katie Couric’s much-anticipated debut as anchor of The CBS Evening News, helping Couric attract nearly as many viewers as her NBC and ABC rivals combined.

CBS nabbed 13.59 million viewers for her inaugural broadcast Sept. 5, according to preliminary national ratings from Nielsen Media Research. The total gives CBS its best Evening News marks since 1998 during the Nagano Winter Olympics.

NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams placed second last night with 7.76 million viewers and ABCWorld News With Charles Gibson was a close third with 7.58 million viewers.

In the key 25 to 54 demographic, Couric led with a 3.9 rating, the show’s best tally since January 1999, and NBC and ABC were tied with 2.3 ratings in the demo.

While Couric’s numbers were a huge boost for CBS, the early returns suggest her success did not come at her rivals' expense. ABC held onto a similar number of viewers from last week, while NBC was down slightly. Both World News and Nightly maintained their demo ratings compared to a week ago.
PLUS: B&CBeat's Live Blog of Katie's First Night.