They're out of excuses.
Summer's over. It's after Labor Day. The kids are back in school. People are back into their routines. The trouble for the Big 3 broadcast networks is that those routines don't include watching their early-evening newscasts.
Beyond that, last week was a pivotal week in Campaign 2010, with key primaries in New York, Delaware, New Hampshire, and several other states. As far as I know, Brian Williams, Diane Sawyer, and Katie Couric were firmly ensconced in their anchor chairs all week long.
With all that, the Big 3 Nets' audience for the week was less than 20 million, almost 5% lower than the same week a year ago, when there were no key election races. The Big 3 are not recovering from what was an awful summer.
NBC and ABC both took huge hits in the 25-54 demographic groups, while CBS picked up a bit.
If they expected their all-O'Donnell-bashing all-the-time strategy to translate into additional evening news viewers, early returns would seem to indicate that it's not working out too well.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.