Couric's first evening-news broadcast last Tuesday brought in nearly 13.6 million curious viewers. The numbers went down, as expected, through the rest of the week but she stayed in first place each day, according to Nielsen Media Research.
On Monday, the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, an estimated 8.3 million people tuned in to NBC's "Nightly News." ABC's "World News" had 7.9 million and Couric's broadcast had 7.5 million.
That's the same pecking order that was in place before Couric started and, with a handful of exceptions, for the past several years.
"As we've said publicly and repeatedly from day one, our focus is on the long-term developments, not the short term," said CBS News President Sean McManus. "However, given that it was a somewhat atypical night of viewing, to be in this close competition for first place shows just how far we have come in just one week."
Last week, the "CBS Evening News" averaged 10.2 million viewers (7.0 rating, 14 share), NBC's "Nightly News" had 7.1 million (5.0, 10) and ABC's "World News" had 6.9 million (4.8, 10). The last time CBS won a week was in June 2001.
Football dominated prime time, with games and pre-game shows accounting for seven of Nielsen's 10 most-popular show last week. The premiere of NBC's Sunday-night NFL game, with an attractive quarterback matchup of the Manning brothers, led the way with 22.6 million viewers.
FOX had some bragging rights, though: its Sunday-night football highlights show, "The O.T.," beat the first edition of NBC's competing highlights show.
NBC and FOX, which has already premiered several of its fall shows, broke CBS' stranglehold on the ratings top spot. NBC averaged 9.7 million viewers for the week (6.4 rating, 11 share). FOX averaged 9.3 million (5.8, 10), but won among the 18-to-49-year-old viewers that advertisers seek. ABC had 7.5 million (4.9, 8), CBS had 7.1 million (4.8, 8), the WB had 1.7 million (1.2, 2), UPN had 890,000 (0.6, 1) and the i network had 680,000 (0.5, 1).
Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision had 3.6 million viewers (2.0, 3), Telemundo had 850,000 (0.5, 1) and TeleFutura had 490,000 (0.3, 1).
A ratings point represents 1,102,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 110.2 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.
For the week of Sept. 4-10, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: NFL Football: Indianapolis vs. N.Y. Giants, NBC, 22.57 million; "House," FOX, 19.65 million; NFL Football: Miami vs. Pittsburgh, NBC, 19.2 million; "Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick," NBC, 14.5 million; "Thursday Night Pre-Kick," NBC, 14.02 million; "Standoff," FOX, 13.63 million; College Football: Ohio State at Texas, ABC, 13.27 million; "The O.T.," FOX, 12.12 million; "Football Night in America," NBC, 11.63 million; "The Simpsons," FOX, 11.626 million.