Bill Clinton's sitdown with Dan Rather on CBS's "60 Minutes" copped 15.4 million viewers Sunday night, according to early statistics.
And while the former president's hawking of his autobiography "My Life" by way of interview may have been the week's most anticipated telecast among political wonks, it was not last week's most watched program. It fell well behind the audience of nearly 22 million who watched the final game of the NBA Finals last Tuesday.
So CBS News focused instead yesterday on the fact that its Clinton chat scored nearly 2 million more viewers than ABC News's chat with Clinton's better half, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. That talk was broadcast at nearly the same time last year, also on a Sunday night, and also hawked a new autobiography, "Living History," by way of interview.
Further probing, however, reveals that "Hillary Clinton's Journey: Public, Private, Personal, With Barbara Walters" actually beat "Clinton Explains It All" in most key demographics, including the ex-president's target demographic: women 18 to 49. Among that set, ex-president Clinton nabbed 2.15 million viewers; Sen. Clinton averaged 3.1 million.
Among 18-to-49-year-olds of both sexes, the senator averaged 4.7 million viewers to her husband's 3.9 million.
Even among 25-to-54-year-olds -- the demographic off which news programming sales generally are made -- Hillary nabbed 5.7 million to Bill's 5.1 million.
The president prevailed, however, among viewers 50 and older -- the core "60 Minutes" audience. That group accounted for more than 11 million of Clinton's 15.4 million viewers Sunday night.
Upon asking a CBS News rep when a "60 Minutes" broadcast had last averaged 15.4 million viewers, we were told simply, "That is not the way to cover this story."
That's network-speak for "not so long ago."
And, in fact, you need only go back to March 28, when "60 Minutes" had a March Madness college basketball lead-in.
If, however, you look only at the newsmag's summer telecasts, you have to go all the way back to 2001 to find an edition of "60 Minutes" that fared better.
Channel 4 weekend sports anchor Jill Sorenson is defecting from the NBC station next month to become a general assignment reporter with Fox-owned Channel 5.
Sorenson, whose four-year contract with Channel 4 expired this month, was given the opportunity to re-sign with the station's sports team but wanted to jump to news, Channel 4 sports director George Michael confirmed. Channel 4 didn't offer her a spot in its newsroom; Channel 5 did.
"In sports, it is what it is," Michael said. "In news, there are no limits of what you can do if you want do it."
Of the transition from sports to news, Sorenson said, "It's the same zoo, different animal."
Her last day at Channel 4 is July 6; she begins at Channel 5 two days later. Nicole Zaloumis, a sportscaster with NBC's affiliate in Medford, Ore., will replace Sorenson beginning July 19, according to Michael.