ABC, NBC Spar Over Evening-News Viewers as Muir Takes Over ‘World News’

Diane Sawyer

More people watched a substitute for Brian Williams on NBC’s “Nightly News” than they did Diane Sawyer’s final “World News” broadcast last week on ABC, but advertisers may not be as impressed.

That’s because the ABC evening newscast was last week watched by more viewers in the demographic most coveted by news-program sponsors – people between 25 and 54 – than NBC’s. It’s true, NBC’s “Nightly News” continues to be the most-watched evening news broadcast on television. And season to date, it has also captured the biggest share of both people between the ages of 25 to 54 and 18 to 49. But for the last four weeks –  and for eight of the past nine – ABC’s “World News” has captured a greater slice of the 25-to-54 audience.

For the week of Aug. 25, ABC’s “World News,” anchored by Sawyer for the first three days of the week, attracted about 1.94 million viewers between 25 and 54, compared with about 1.67 million for NBC’s “Nightly News” and nearly 1.45 million for CBS’ “Evening News.” According to ABC, “World News” outperformed NBC “Nightly News  by 271,000 news demo viewers to match its largest margin of victory in more than seven years, since the week of July 2, 2007.

Due to the “Emmy Awards,” “NBC Nightly News” was re-titled on Monday, and the Monday-night broadcast was excluded from the program averages.  NBC’s weekly averages are based on four days, Tuesday through Friday.

Late-summer viewing patterns are not the most reliable, owing to consumer tendency to disrupt regular habits with vacations and entertainment. But ABC’s increasing ability to snare in-demo viewers is likely not going unnoticed. Critics have charged the Walt Disney network has snared younger viewers by speeding up the formats of its various news shows and offering a broader palette of stories, which are shortened, leaving less time for depth. At the same time, the numbers are likely to be followed closely by advertisers, who count on amassing viewers in that age range.

The skirmish is part of an ongoing battle that will only continue as ABC puts its faith in David Muir, a younger anchor, who has now taken over its “World News” in full. At 40, Muir is younger than CBS’ Scott Pelley and NBC’s Williams, as well as Sawyer – and the network’s faith in him may suggest it is eager to woo a new generation to its news products as the baby boom generation moves more steadily into retirement.

NBC’s “Nightly” is still the leader of the race, and not to be dismissed. Season-to-date, “Nightly” leads in total viewers and viewers between 25 and 54 and 18 and 49. The broadcast has increased its total viewership during that time by 6%, or 490,000 viewers, and has broadened its overall advantage over ABC by 28%.

Yet as the recent flip in rankings between ABC’s “Good Morning America’ and NBC”s “Today” has demonstrated, playing by the second-place handbook can undermine the first place holder’s position without much of a warning.

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  1. Richard Genco says:

    The leaders in bias by omission. A big shot in this administration pleads the fifth like a Mafia Don and these clowns don’t report it.

  2. Bill Powdrell says:

    Absolutely the three(3) most important words in the American lexicon are 1) RATINGS, 2) Cleavage and 3) “ABSOLUTELY”.

    Google up “Ned Beatty’s ‘NETWORK’ speech.”

  3. Roger says:

    Won’t watch main stream media. They lie!

  4. Fred Shakley says:

    Broadcast news- scripted sound bites, that are more entertainment than information. It usually follows the White House information Czar format. Change channels and hear the same stories coming from a different face. The only real “news” can only be found on alternative websites, not on the TV.

  5. BHOisathug says:

    ABCNBCCBSCNN is not ‘news’. It’s a narrative.

  6. texasmom43 says:

    I have quit watching those stations (and any others) as they waste time with fillers and never report what’s real news.

  7. BriteBlonde1 says:

    David Muir is like watching Diane Sawyer in drag…all about THEM and stories selected by young, bland and un-curious dolts who follow instructions from consultants and never get out with real people. NBC wins by many, many furlongs.

  8. Smooth says:

    Americans have a lot of hate for each other, and they get a thrill in pointing out failures in their fellow citizens.

  9. scott macd says:

    Although I’m a member of the unwanted “geezer” generation, I’d like to congratulate David Muir for making a network news show worth watching for the first time within recent memory. Having delivered on-location reports and putting himself in the line of fire for several years in trouble spots all over the world, he has more than earned his promotion at ABC and is doing a splendid job. My heartfelt congratulations to a courageous and formidably intelligent kid of 40!

  10. jewhader. says:

    I can’t wait for this generation of red diaper babies to finally die.

    What a crew

  11. adam ant says:

    The only hope for those who want CHANGE at NBC is to watch FOX…………..

  12. Pete Dosado says:

    ABC and NBC are trying to avoid being the ring in toilet bowl!

  13. BuddaBoom says:

    Bring back the Ed Show!

  14. mike11 says:

    Are they actually “news” organizations or just a repeat of the Presidents talking points?

    • Michael Anthony says:

      Best not let your fellow right wingers catch you commenting on this “liberal Hollywood” media site. We know you conservatives don’t like to aid anything liberal, like increasing page views. Imagine what your family would say if the found out you commented on this liberal site? They’d have to hang their heads in shame. have

  15. JJ says:

    has anyone ever seen the news station OAN (one America news net work) I happen to skip across it and they are very honest about what is going on in Washington. Graham Ledger is on there and he use to be our local ABC news guy. Glad to see he left and he really speaks his mind!

  16. Ida Tarbell says:

    Reporters are a disturbance to people. They dredge us disturbing facts. I used to be one, it was scrumptious to be so beastly under the cover of ‘reporting!’ It was fun. It drives people crazy. They start doing things that wreck the society trying to produce some ‘greater good!’ Its time to tune out, stop watching, go it alone. No news media. Its the best way

  17. Ida Tarbell says:

    I didn’t watch Brian Williams last night and I may not watch him tomorrow. Mitchum, the antipersperant that lasts.

  18. Reds says:

    Maybe they could improve raying if they got a topless anchor? In their case, a topless male anchor….

  19. JJ says:

    does anyone watch ABC or NBC they don’t inform people of the truth, to liberal bias

  20. Hopsaregood says:

    You are serious?? People still watch those Obama zombie “(news”) shows??

  21. ArtVanDalay says:

    Tune in to NBCBSABC News tonight to learn 1) Obama good 2) Obama blameless 3) Republican bad 4) economy’s good even though you don’t see it. 5) Record cold due to global warming 6) Mr. Pringles the cat fell down a well and was rescued. Tune in tomorrow for more of the same except the Mr.Pringles segment will be different.

    • texasmom43 says:

      There you have it! They do get the date correct. The rest is liberal clap trap …at least as I see it. fox isn’t much better …a slant in the other direction.

  22. itstoolate says:

    I can’t imagine anyone would watch this drivel. Nothing but obammy talking points and lies. Just 30 minutes of nothing

  23. Ed says:

    If you want honest news and not the liberal slant, you don’t watch any of these network stations and their so called entertainment isn’t worth watching either.

    • JANNE READ says:

      News Flash Alphabet News Stations. Report the news as it really is, not the watered down version that most ignorant voter see every night. Your rating will SOAR………

      • Michael Anthony says:

        JANNE: You best spend some time reading about the effect that the internet has had on traditional news sources. It’s only a subject that’s been discussed over the last decade or so. NO ONES RATINGS WILL SOAR! That model is long dead.

        On a side note, why cant conservative news sites and networks never manage to attract more than a couple million of people?? I thought the “majority” of Americans were concerned about the destruction of America? Guess you don’t have the numbers. Then again, any intelligent American knows the truth already. And no, it’s not your version of the truth.

  24. Joseph Blow says:

    These news shows never dig into Obama’s many scandals and lies. I can’t stand watching their pro-Obama propaganda as the country goes down the drain.

    • Michael Anthony says:

      Please get a new rant. After all these years, it’s tiring to hear you right wingers spouting about the so-called scandals and lies. Benghazi doesn’t work, because there’s nothing there. It’s? Nada. Obamacare? Nope again. It’s pathetic that at this point, you can’t even move on because you can’t grasp the FACT that the majority if Americans view you as the dim bulbs you really are.

      On a side note, what in the world are you doing commenting on a story on such a liberal media site??? We all know the right wing doesn’t read anything of note from Hollywood.

  25. Brad says:

    No surprise here. Middle America has quit watching because the bias of these news shows has become so blatant. I’m a former news reporter and quit watching some time ago. They scream about falling ratings and can’t figure it out? LOL.

  26. WallyG says:

    “News”? Since when? Spar away for ratings….the “Three Drones” (ABC, CBS and NBC) have nothing left to offer. Other than local news, there’s no reason to watch any of them!

  27. Kun Tewk says:

    Revoke the network three (stooges) broadcasting licences.

  28. Craig Eliot says:

    The major media have become too corporate and unimaginative. News from outside sources seems to be more inclusive and interesting. For instance the author of New York Stories and The Polity of Beasts (in my opinion on of the most important authors now writing) was interviewed last night on an independent broadcast, but otherwise would never have been invited to talk on, say, Charlie Rose or one of those shows. The big broadcasters have got to get with it!

  29. Abu Alsalam says:

    I wasn’t aware there were network news from ABC CBS and whatever the other one is. Who wants to watch JV (thanks obama) when the real news network FOX is kicking their butts.

    • Michael Anthony says:

      Too funny! The only thing FOX leads in is older viewers. That’s not the coveted audience that advertisers want. So, no, FOX is not kicking their butts. If you can’t understand demographics and what matters to advertisers, then why comment?

  30. bpster says:

    It’s pointless news paid propaganda looks like most aren’t buying and haven’t for a long time. I think you meant they are competing with Nickelodeon for the crowd under 5…..

  31. Archy Don says:

    People under 70 still watch these “news” programs? Amazing!

  32. bob says:

    I wound not watch either of the America Hating Channels

  33. William Box says:

    Will Diane get hired at the Oprah Network for a nightly live news show. That way Oprah and Gayle can slobber over Diane when its over – should make for a very interesting 3-some !!!

  34. Dammit says:

    Look you two. One of you is just going to have to be last.

  35. B Da Truth says:

    Who the hell is even watching these cheap propagandists anyway?
    This must be where Obama’s 39% approval comes from, the clueless.

    • William Box says:

      B-Da – you nailed it. they are merely repeating the propoganda the White House hands them every day. They don’t inquire, they don’t challenge, they don’t verify – merely lunatic liberal media lapdogs slopping up whatever the Shiny Bottomed Admiral (Kirby), Josh un-Earnest or Gin Socki (Jen Ptaki) toss at them and then echoing it every nite as ‘White House’ correspondent staring blankly into the Camera. Ratings – plezzzzz – there are no ratings.

      Report the factual truth and their ratings would go through the rough.

  36. FreudianSlip says:

    All these major media news systems are dinosaurs in the Internet Age.

    Watch them go extinct if they do not adapt.

  37. So what else is new??? Hell even FOX shows blather on it’s local stations calling anything they want “so called” news. In NY they show “bobbing heads” in the AM and an imitation fireside chat t 6PM—all labeled news. I no longer watch what was once a great station even if Lew L makes sense.

  38. Redbird25 says:

    Obama’s lapdogs, all of them.

  39. What, a race to the bottom?

  40. Ida Tarbell says:

    A little perspective here. Political remarks are not germaine when discussing the networks. All you foxheads are boobs. All the cable newsers, Fox, CNN, MSNBC, are watched by tiny numbers of people. The lowest rated evening network newscast is CBS. In a single nightly broadcast, it attracts larger numbers than all three cable networks’ combined viewing for the week.

    • strategyman says:

      To bad Ida you do not understand how the networks and cable work. The network news is sent out primarily over the “free” airways! Fox for example appears through paid cable subscriptions. If Fox was transmitted over the free airways, it would trump all the network news combined!

  41. moab34 says:

    You mean they’re fighting over about a dozen viewers?

  42. I have not watched network news in 15 years. Nothing on there but sound bite propaganda. No real reporting at all. Why bother?

  43. These programs quit covering the news years ago, they don’t even have foreign news bureaus anymore. The best program now at that hour is Bret Baer on Fox and at a later hour the BBC is the only one still covering the news of the day.

  44. I am not Barry says:

    Like two seagulls fighting over a french fry. (or “Pink Slime” in the case of Diane)

    Thank the Lord I am outside of their target demographic.

  45. ImJustAGuy says:

    If you don’t mind being spoon-fed opinions on any given matter, then watch network news.

  46. stargazeman says:

    All water carriers for the talking points hand delivered by WH lackeys to them…at the kind of uber one percent salaries these “talkers” get (courtesy and funded by Super PACS now backing the message) they’ll read anything shoved in front of them–journalism integrity be darned…Williams pulls in 2 million per MONTH for the WH talking points he reads aloud—as well as pushing his “Peter Pan” daughter on HBO and the Networks….Muir?…he led off his kick off broadcast with a weather story, sharks near swimmers, a shout out to Joan Rivers, and not a word about ISIS…..not too worry he’ll catch up on his Obama fawning by Thursday. These frauds are finally getting their due with the ratings tanks—now they fight for “fastest in the glue factory” horse racing position. One Percenter water carriers all they are now….Muir no exception…

  47. ToggaMogga says:

    Wow, I didn’t know that evening news ratings had gotten so bad.. But I’m glad, Americans hopefully are smartening up about the lies and perversion promotion.
    Instead of watching the alphabet propaganda, learn 5 new vocabulary words with your children, or for yourself, read a book, review math lessons with your children, learn a new skill. This will all improve your life. watching the networks just dumbs you down into an utter simpleton.

  48. takenobull says:

    ABC and NBC fight over those who wish to follow the Democrat herd. For those of us who want the truth we go else where.

  49. Mack says:

    And the winner of the Toilet Bowl is:______ (the worst ratings on television). Until the management at ABC, NBC CBS, CNN, PBS, NPR, & CPB, (and yes sometimes Fox) realize that their incessant left wing-socialist slant has run off the viewers in droves, their ratings share will continue to decline. Attention advertisers: why pay for advertising on a news program that has few to NO viewers?

  50. strategyman says:

    It seems the networks continue to do the same thing over and over expecting a new result! The major news networks are losing viewers because much of the viewing audience does not trust their reporting. This is why Fox continues to grow in ratings because they are more trustworthy. The new media sources are providing people with news that they want to learn more about. They go to Fox because the mainstream media does not cover the stories. Too bad that network financial backers are not getting the message!

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