Diane Sawyer Exits Demo Winner on
ABC/Rick Rowell

Diane Sawyer is going out a demo winner as anchor of ABC’s “World News,” prevailing last week for the seventh time in eight weeks.

Also of note in another good week for the evening newscasts across the board, CBS logged its top-rated week of the summer while NBC remained on top in total viewers and averaged more than 8 million viewers for the first time since June.

Last week was believed to be the final full week for Sawyer, who is taking on a new role at ABC News and will be replaced by David Muir. Sawyer was expected to sign off sometime during this pre-holiday week, though a final date has not been announced.

According to Nielsen, the evening newscasts on ABC, CBS and NBC combined for 21.9 million viewers last week, matching the previous week as the most of the summer. The death of Robin Williams was big news a couple of weeks ago, and the busy news cycle last week included the protests in Ferguson and the murder of James Foley.

ABC’s “World News” led in the demo derby with 1.918 million viewers in the key news demo of adults 25-54, followed by NBC’s “Nightly News With Brian Williams” (1.860 million) and the “CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley” (1.635 million).

The ABC newscast has won in adults 25-54 for the seventh time in the eight weeks since the news of Sawyer’s exit first surfaced (including some weeks with Muir in the anchor seat), and is delivering its top-rated season to date in the demo in three years. “World News” was the leader for the second quarter as well, and notched back-to-back sweeps victories in the demo (May and July) for the first time in seven years.

In total viewers, “NBC Nightly News” led the way with 8.025 million — its largest weekly average since mid-June — and was followed by “World News” (7.325 million) and “CBS Evening News” (6.532 million). In this category, “World News” is enjoying its strongest season in six years.

The Pelley-led “CBS Evening News” delivered its largest audience of the summer (since the week ending May 2) and its best summer delivery in adults 25-54 (since the week ending May 16). Season-to-date, it is up 5% in total viewers.

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