Sawyer Outshines Couric, Gaining on Williams

by | May 12, 2010 at 1:14 PM | TV News

Evening News Anchor Diane Sawyer (Photo: ABC News)

Evening News Anchor Diane Sawyer (Photo: ABC News)

Where Katie Couric failed, it appears Diane Sawyer has succeeded. The latest ‘World News‘ host has started to give her fellow prime-time news anchors a bit of competition by boosting ABC’s ratings for its nightly newscast.

Not only did Sawyer average 7 million total viewers last week, but ‘World News’ actually bested ‘NBC Nightly News‘ last Wednesday, averaging nearly 10,000 viewers more for the night, according to the Huffington Post. Overall, NBC averages 7.43 million viewers each night, compared to CBS’ 4.98 million.

While these latest numbers prove ABC has a shot at dominating the nightly news game, it also proves that a woman in the anchor seat can be just as powerful as her male counterparts, a scenario that seemed unlikely after Couric was unable to boost viewership for ‘CBS Evening News‘ after ultimately taking over for Dan Rather.

Sawyer’s move from ‘Good Morning America‘ to ‘World News’ was a swift, yet subtle transition last December, a move that might have proved wise from ABC’s point of view, since Couric’s media-hyped shift from days to nights was met with third-place ratings that have continued to lag.

No word yet what the future holds for Couric, but reported talks between CBS and CNN could provide the opportunity for the beleaguered news program to re-think its strategy — there are rumors of Anderson Cooper and Couric making cross-network appearances should a joint venture happen, according to New York Magazine.

As for NBC, the looming Comcast Corp. purchase won’t change things for ‘Nightly News.’ At least, not according to Comcast chief Brian Roberts, who has said the “awesome asset” will be allowed to have its “own voice” once his company buys a 51 percent stake, according to the Huffington Post.