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The Rise Of Nightline: ABC’s Late Night Show Beats Letterman And Leno

ABC’s Nightline–once considered past its prime and on the verge of cancellation–has thundered to a ratings win for the fourth quarter 2010, beating both David Letterman‘s Late Show and Jay Leno‘s Tonight Show among total viewers.

In the just-completed fourth quarter ratings compiled by Nielsen, Nightline ranked No. 1 among total viewers (3.93 million) and adults 25-54 (1.61 million).

This represents the first-time that Nightline outperformed its late-night rivals in total viewers during a fourth quarter and the first time Nightline has beaten the comics among adults 25-54 over the course of a quarter–ever.

Here are the numbers:

(4th Quarter, 2010)

SHOW – TOTAL VIEWERS A25-54(000)/ Rtg A18-49(000)/ Rtg
ABC “Nightline” – 3,930,000 1,610,000/ 1.3 1,270,000/ 1.0
CBS “Late Show” – 3,600,000 1,570,000/ 1.3 1,170,000/ 0.9
NBC “Tonight” – 3,880,000 1,590,000/ 1.3 1,290,000/ 1.0

These ratings, it should be pointed out, represent only 30 minutes, and both Letterman and Leno run a full hour.

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