Nightline's hurricane Katrina coverage last week helped the show beat Leno and Letterman for the first time in two and a half years.
The ABC news show, anchored by Ted Koppel all five nights (he usually does three) from the Gulf Coast, won its Monday-Friday time period for the week of Aug. 29-Sept. 4 in total viewers and the 25-54 demo.
It was the first time Nightline has beaten the late night entertainment competition since the week of March 17, 2003, the beginning of the Gulf War.
According to Nielsen, the show averaged 5.04 million viewers (excluding a Sunday night special) compared to 4.50 million for Leno and 3.59 million for Letterman.
In the key 25-54 news demo, Nightline had a 2.1 rating (2.53 million viewers). Leno had 2.12 million and a /1.7 rating and Letterman had a 1.5 rating and 1.86 million viewers.