DAVID BIANCULLI

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Katie Couric As Ready-For-Prime-Time Player
January 29, 2009  | By David Bianculli
 
Wednesday's prime-time edition of The CBS Evening News with Katie Couricwas the first volley in a three-part prime-time salvo aimed at heightening her profile in the next 10 days.

katie-couric.jpgNext Wednesday, she hosts a special prime-time interview special keyed to the Grammys. Then, a week from Sunday on 60 Minutes, she interviews Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and the rest of the crew of the US Airways flight that ditched successfully in the Hudson River.

Most likely, the interview would have run this Sunday, except, against the Super Bowl, there's no way CBS would throw away an exclusive that potent when no one will be watching. By waiting a week, and promoting it heavily, 60 Minutes is all but guaranteed to get its highest ratings in years.

Meanwhile, the ratings for last night's prime-time CBS evening newscast were a mixed blessing. Good news: Couric's prime-time exposure finished second in the time slot among overall viewers. Bad news: Among the young demographic CBS would most love to reach, the prime-time newcast finished fifth, beneath not only Fox, NBC and ABC, but Univision. But hey -- it beat CW.)

At the dinner hour, The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric has been in third place in its time slot, losing to both ABC and NBC, for 122 straight weeks now. The current average is just over 7 million viewers, which, if transferred to prime time, would put it on a par with the CBS sitcom Gary Unmarried, which this past week was ranked in 45th place.

I'm guessing it will draw fewer than 7 million in prime time, especially since most loyal CBS News viewers already will have watched at dinnertime. But this means that a lot of those prime-time viewers, whatever the number, will be new to the program -- which is exactly what CBS is after.

Oh, and saving lots of money by filling prime time with a news-show budget, that can't hurt, either. So from the CBS perspective, even if Couric comes in third in her time slot in prime time, as she does during the regular news hour, she's still a winner. At least for now.

 

1 Comment

 

Chris J. said:

Preliminary returns show 6.45 million viewers.. Second in it's timeslot, beating Night Rider (5.85 million) and Lost rerun (5.37 million), which probably isn't saying a whole lot. Previous week in same time slot was The New Adventures of Old Christine with 7.44 million.

Comment posted on January 29, 2009 1:22 PM
 
 
 
 
 
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