‘Nightline’ is #1 in Late Night for 2009-2010

By Chris Ariens 

ABC News president David Westin (far left) stopped by the “Nightline” newsroom this afternoon to congratulate the staff on their win as the most-watched late night program among Total Viewers for the 2009/2010 season. It’s the first time in 15 years “Nightline” topped the “Tonight Show” and “The Late Show with David Letterman.” And while the win comes in the wake of a programming stumble at NBC, it also proves, for now anyway, that there is an appetite for network news/information programming in late night.

NBC’s “Tonight Show” programming debacle in late 2009, gave an assist to “Nightline.” But the ABC News program also benefited from strong newsmaker guests including Sarah Palin in her first interview about her new book; Bill Clinton’s first interview from Haiti after the earthquake; the only in-depth interview with controversial Florida pastor Terry Jones and Jesse James’ first interview after his breakup with Sandra Bullock.

“Nightline” was second for the season among A18-49 viewers and tied for second with “Letterman” among A25-54 viewers.

Show Network Total Viewers A25-54 A18-49
Nightline ABC 3.71M 1.54M 1.26M
Late Show CBS 3.63M 1.54M 1.20M
Tonight Show NBC 3.50M 1.65M 1.43M

ABC’s ratings are based on a 30-minute broadcast, while CBS and NBC are based on one hour.

ABC News president David Westin, co-anchor Terry Moran, correspondent Vicki Mabrey, co-anchors Bill Weir and Cynthia McFadden and EP James Goldston.