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'Nightly News' stays on top after Nielsen reversal

NBC News anchor Brian Williams at the Cantor

NBC News anchor Brian Williams at the Cantor Fitzgerald Charity Day event in Manhattan on Sept. 11, 2012. Photo Credit: AP / Starpix, Andrew Toth

For ABC News, it seemed almost too good to be true - a sudden "World News Tonight" victory over arch-rival "NBC Nighty News" during the week of Sept. 26. Not only too good to be true but historic, because "Nightly" had won 264 weeks straight until that point...

 And then, the sobering reversal: Nielsen has announced that it made a mistake. It was a big mistake in fact, in which more viewers were assigned to ABC's programs that week while other networks lost viewers. Nielsen has corrected the error, but the adjustment came at a cost for "WNT with David Muir."  The show instantly lost 300,000 viewers for the week that were previously added to its total, pushing "WNT"  back into second place.

NBC retains the crown... 

Both networks conceded a little while ago that the earlier numbers were issued in error, and restated the new totals: "Nightly," 8.3 million; "WNT," 8.1 million.

The statements: 

NBC: “We are pleased that the corrected numbers confirm that NBC Nightly News is the #1 news broadcast in America, and has been for the last 265 weeks. We remain, first and foremost, committed to our viewers and bringing them a broadcast with credible, authoritative news they can trust.”

ABC: "For us, it has always been about the viewer at the end of the day. 'World News Tonight' is in the tightest evening news race in several years and we're honored the viewers are responding."

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