News Gets Boost in 4Q08

Broadcast evening news and cable news networks alike got a bit of a ratings boost in 4Q08, according to Nielsen numbers. NBC’s “Nightly News” won the quarter with average 5.9 rating, followed by ABC’s “World News Tonight” with a 5.7 and the “CBS Evening News” with a 4.3. The first and fourth quarters tend to trend higher than the middle two, when the weather is more agreeable and the days are longer. This year’s fourth quarter also included coverage of a presidential election that generated a raft of TV fodder.

From 6 p.m. to midnight, Fox News led among the cable nets with a 1.7, though CNN turned in its best quarter for total households since at least 2005 with a 1.1. MSNBC also had its highest average rating since ’05 with a 0.9 for the period.