Katie Couric’s much-ballyhooed Tuesday night debut as the new anchor of the CBS Evening News was the evening’s top-rated network newscast, as measured by overnight Nielsen ratings of the service’s 56 metered TV markets, the Associated Press reports.
The show was watched by an estimated 13.6 million viewers on Tuesday, its largest audience in more than eight years, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Over at the competition, the usually top-ranked NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams drew an estimated 7.8 million viewers, while ABC’s generally second-place World News with Charles Gibson had 7.6 million viewers, The New York Times reports.
According to the CBS News Web site, champagne corks popped after Couric’s initial show, though her celebratory drink of choice was a martini.
After drinking just half of it, she reportedly joked to the News crew: “I have to interview the President tomorrow, so I can’t have too much.”
Meanwhile, in Tuesday’s other big launch, Rosie O’Donnell bowed as the new regular on ABC’s The View in an episode seen by an estimated 4.2 million viewers – a hike of about 54 percent over the the 2.7 million who tuned in on Sept. 6, 2005, according to preliminary Nielsen figures.
The program also increased its audience among women viewers ages 18-49, the New York Post reports.