‘Nightline' Tops Letterman, Conan in Total Viewers

Obama health care special, Michael Jackson's death send viewers up 28% week-to-week

ABC News' Nightline became the most-watched program in late night for the week of June 22, buoyed by coverage of President Obama's health care plan and the death of Michael Jackson. The show averaged 3.89 million total viewers, topping both the Tonight Show (3.69 million) and the Late Show (3.46 million).

The win marked the first victory for Nightline over The Tonight Show and The Late Show since election week in November 2008. The show increased in viewers by 25% from the same week last year and by 28% week-to-week, as well as by 40% among viewers 25-54.

Nightline beat Letterman in ratings both in the 25-54 and 18-49 demo, with a 1.3 and 1.0 respectively, topping the Late Show's 1.0 and 0.8. The Tonight Show still garnered the highest ratings both among 25-54 (1.6) and 18-49 (1.4). The Tonight Show led among viewers in both demos as well. However, the loss in total viewers for the second straight week, marked the first time since 1996 the Tonight Show hadn't placed first for two weeks in a row, excluding the 2007 writer's strike.

Nightline sells ads against its target demo of 25-54 year old viewers, while the entertainment late night shows target 18-49s.

Season to date, Nightline is up 13%, averaging 3.82 million total viewers. The show's 1.67 average in the 25-54 demo is up 3% over last year.