The AP has an article up on NBC’s evening news ratings hiccup. After leading since the departure of Tom Brokaw, NBC has found itself in second place to ABC for the past eight weeks. An excerpt:
If there was a single explanation, it would be much easier. There isn’t.
A check of story logs from the past month reveals few dramatic differences between the ABC, NBC and CBS newscasts. The public can’t detect much, either: a recent study by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found that 74 percent of people asked said ABC News, CBS News and NBC News are all pretty much the same.
The only major difference recently was that NBC led its newscast three times with hurricane-related stories, including a Williams visit to New Orleans and an update of the season’s hurricane forecast. NBC’s rivals did little or nothing on those stories. That’s a reflection of Williams’ continuing interest in the Hurricane Katrina aftermath, and he’s convinced the public shares that.
Well, there was one other difference. What the AP leaves out as a possible reason for the lost audience is the Virginia Tech shooting and NBC’s horrible pimping and airing of the gunman’s video suicide note. The Tech massacre, like NBC’s ratings slump, happened about two months ago.