ABC’s news magazine program 20/20 has been scoring some major victories against its main competitor, NBC’s Dateline, this year– numbers big and consistent enough to make a new pattern between the networks’ shows, as the two have traditionally split ratings in competition between the two, depending on the stories. This year, however, 20/20 has been consistent, with ratings buttressed by exclusives on the year’s major news stories, from the Costa Concordia Italian cruise crash to the death of Whitney Houston.
According to Nielsen, 20/20 has beaten Dateline in its hour 14 out of the 19 hours that have been on this year in both total viewers and the key 18-49 demographic. It did even better among 25- to 54-year-old viewers, beating Dateline 15 out of 19 total hours this year. For those counting, that’s a victory almost 75% of the time in both total viewers and key demographics. It also grew in total viewers 7%, and among the key demos 19% (25-54) and 17% (18-49).
The numbers are not out of the blue; 20/20 has benefited significantly from a big push for exclusive coverage– co-anchor Chris Cuomo‘s exclusive interviews with Stefanie Mack and Tyler Clementi roommate Dahrun Ravi, extensive coverage of the Josh Powell murders, the aforementioned Costa Concordia, and a number of exclusive crime stories that go into the players and investigation in depth.
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