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Diane Sawyer boosts viewership for ABC but still places second behind NBC

December 29, 2009 | 10:57 am

Diane Sawyer’s debut last week as the new anchor of “World News” was low-key, but she still managed to lift ratings for the ABC evening newscast during a holiday week.

“World News” averaged 8.56 million viewers during Sawyer’s first week at the desk, 500,000 more than the broadcast’s season-to-date average, according to Nielsen. (Because of the Christmas holiday, the data is based on just three days of ratings.) Sawyer kicked off her tenure on Dec. 21 with an exclusive interview with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

But that boost wasn’t enough to dislodge the top-rated “NBC Nightly News” from its spot. The Brian Williams-anchored newscast drew 9.37 million viewers last week. “CBS Evening News With Katie Couric” pulled in 6.16 million.

-- Matea Gold