Rather-Bush Dispute Boosts Ratings

Monday night's lip war between Vice President George Bush and anchorman Dan Rather on the "CBS Evening News" didn't win the 15-market ratings war for the program that evening. But the ensuing fuss apparently helped boost its preliminary ratings on Tuesday night.

The 15-city overnight ratings for Rather's broadcast Tuesday were 16% higher than the 11 rating it had Monday night, according to A. C. Nielsen Co. estimates.

In Los Angeles, Rather's Tuesday newscast, aired by KCBS-TV Channel 2, was only one ratings point higher than the 6.6 it got on Monday, when the anchorman and Bush verbally clashed during the broadcast. That means about 46,500 additional households were tuned in.

ABC's "World News Tonight" led both evenings in the 15-city count. But CBS research chief David Poltrack said Wednesday that ABC's program usually does well in most of those cities.

When this week's national ratings are available next Tuesday, Poltrack added, he expects that "CBS Evening News" probably will be No. 1 by a larger margin than last week, when it recorded its 18th consecutive victory in the network news ratings wars.

Ratings for that week showed that Rather's broadcast averaged a 12.5, "NBC Nightly News" an 11.4 and "World News Tonight" an 11.3. Each national ratings point represents 886,000 homes.

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