ABC News is making key personnel changes at a time of ratings strength, with the division enjoying success across various dayparts this spring.
In the recently completed second quarter, the division could claim several No. 1 demo finishes, including the ayem with “Good Morning America” and the evening with “World News.”
“Good Morning America” has now been on top of the morning news race for two years, racking up its eighth consecutive quarterly victory in total viewers (5.542 million) and its seven straight in adults 25-54 (2.085 million), according to Nielsen numbers for the March 31-June 29 ratings period. The ABC program beat runner-up “Today” on NBC by 16% in total viewers (4.761 million) and by 10% in adults 25-54 (1.899 million).
This marks the first back-to-back second-quarter ratings victories for “GMA” since 1994 in total viewers, and since 1993 in adults 25-54.
“World News With Diane Sawyer” is going out on top in the key news demo, according to Nielsen “most current” estimates, edging out NBC’s “Nightly News With Brian Williams” in adults 25-54 (1.98 million vs. 1.82 million) for the newscast’s first victory during any quarter in more than six years (Q1 2008).
Note that while ABC was claiming victory in the demo, so too was NBC. The Peacock uses “Live + Same Day” and not “Live + 7” data, and by the same-day viewership metric, the two newscasts were tied in adults 25-54 rating, with “Nightly News” ahead slightly in actuals (1.951 million to 1.942 million for “World News”).
In total viewers, “World News” still trailed NBC’s “Nightly News” by 682,000 in “most current,” but this marked the ABC program’s closest second-quarter finish in four years. In Live + Same-Day, the NBC advantage was 759,000.
ABC News made news of its own a couple of weeks ago when it announced that Sawyer would be ankling her position as anchor of “World News Tonight” to assume a new role centered around specials and big interviews. David Muir is taking over the anchor desk on the evening newscast in addition to his role as co-host of “20/20,” and “GMA” co-anchor George Stephanopoulos is adding to its busy slate by being tapped Chief Anchor of ABC News.
Sunday morning public affairs program “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” won its daypart in adults 25-54 — the first demo win during any quarter for “This Week” in nearly 17 years. Its 826,000 adults 25-54 topped CBS’ “Face the Nation” (781,000) by 6% and NBC’s “Meet the Press” (687,000) by 20%.
In total viewers, “This Week” (2.786 million) ran a close second to “Face the Nation” (2.874 million), with “Meet the Press” third (2.365 million).
Also for ABC News, “20/20” was primetime’s No. 1 newsmagazine during the quarter in adults 25-54, and “Nightline” was the most-watched program starting at 12:35 a.m. for the first time since moving to the timeslot early in 2013. “Nightline’s” 1.693 million was ABC’s largest audience in the time period during a second quarter since 2002.