Nightline Beats Letterman

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For the third consecutive week, ABC's Nightline bested CBS' Late Show with David Letterman to claim second place in the late-night ratings race.

Nightline was no doubt lifted last week by news that a suspect had been arrested in the 10-year-old murder of child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey, a story the media never seems to get enough of.

Nightline averaged 3.71 million viewersand 1.4 rating in the key 25 to 54 demographic for the week of Aug. 14, according to Nielsen Media Research.The Late Show posted an average 3.56 million viewers and also notched a 1.4 in the demo. NBC's Tonight Show with Jay Leno bested both programs though, attracting 4.52 million viewers and a 1.7 in the demo.

Letterman was in original episodes last week. It has been more than three years since the last time Nightline beat Letterman for straight three weeks, back in was May 2003.

Nightline, which has used a three-anchor format since Ted Koppel exited last fall, has enjoyed ratings growth in recent months. ABC says last week's delivery is up 17% compared to a year ago and represents the show's largest audience since April 10, 2006.

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