‘Dateline,’ ’20/20′ Head-to-Head with Two-Hour Specials

By kevin Comment

2020dateline.jpgABC’s “20/20″ and NBC’s “Dateline” went head-to-head Friday night, with both programs airing two-hour specials. It’s first time that’s happened since last summer.

The LA Times’ Matea Gold reported yesterday on “20/20″ going up against “Dateline,” one of the temporary replacements in NBC’s line-up filling the 10pm void left by “The Jay Leno Show,” and wrote: “The matchup will accentuate the fierce jostling between the newsmagazines for the biggest scoops.”

ABC had the first exclusive footage of Jaycee Lee Dugard since her rescue, and NBC had the story of a kidnapping in Mexico. “Competition really ups everyone’s game,” “20/20″ EP David Sloan told the LA Times. “It’s good for the viewers and it’s good for the shows.”

The two newsmagazines averaged 13.68 million viewers combined over the two-hour span last night, with 7.17 million watching “Dateline” and 6.51 million watching “20/20.”