Williams Steady in Debut


One night down, and new NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams is already on top. Williams, who inherited the anchor chair from Tom Brokaw Dec. 2, beat out rivals Peter Jennings and Dan Rather in his debut newscast as NBC's primary evening-news anchor.

Nightly News recorded 11.68 million viewers, beating out ABC's World News Tonight, which counted 9.3 million viewers, and the CBS Evening News, with 7.5 million viewers.

In the key 25-54 year-old demo, Williams attracted a 3.3 rating and he beat Nightly News' November average of 11.15 million viewers.

It wasn't quite the audience that tuned in for Brokaw's Dec. 1 farewell, though. That newscast garnered 15.4 million viewers, the largest audience for Nightly News since January 1997.