Nightline Grows Koppel's Audience
Despite concerns expressed by Ted Koppel in his valedictory comments on his final Nightline telecast last year that ABC would fill the time period with comedy shows if viewers did not watch his successors, the show is now actually averaging 9 percent more viewers than it did when Koppel was hosting it, the Wall Street Journal reported today (Monday). In fact, it said, the program is now sometimes beating CBS's Late Show with David Letterman in the ratings. Changes to Nightline have received a mixed reaction from its staff, according to the WSJ. Correspondent John Donvan told the newspaper that by expanding the topics on Nightline, the producers have increased the number of stories he can cover. However, the Journal added, other former Nightline staffers say that under Koppel they viewed it "as the best place to work at ABC News, but they don't see it that way anymore." But in an interview with the newspaper, ABC News President David Westin said, ""All of us had questions about how 'Nightline' would fare once Ted Koppel left, and while there's no such thing as tenure in the TV business, we are very pleased with the program today. ... We're not talking about whether it will survive; we're talking about how to make it stronger."