Katie Couric Slips to No. 3 in Ratings

10/03/2006 at 01:30 PM EDT

Katie Couric Slips to No. 3 in Ratings
Katie Couric
Scott Wintrow/Getty
CBS is putting a brave face on Katie Couric's ratings as the CBS Evening News slipped to third place last week.

The broadcast drew 7.5 million viewers last week, according to Nielsen's preliminary numbers, trailing NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams (8.2 million) for the second straight week and falling behind ABC's World News With Charles Gibson (7.6 million) for the first time since Couric took the CBS anchor chair on Sept. 5, USA Today reports.

Still, on Monday CBS pointed out that Couric's ratings are robust compared with last year, with viewership up some 22 percent.

The former Today show co-anchor made a huge splash in September. Her opening-night broadcast drew an estimated 13.6 million viewers, the show's largest audience in more than eight years, and she led in the ratings among the big three networks for two solid weeks before falling to second place in the third week.

In the decade before Couric left the program, NBC's Today show dominated the morning-news ratings.

Final numbers for last week's evening news are due from Nielsen Tuesday.

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