ABC Can’t Keep Lester Holt Down; NBC’s ‘Nightly News’ Wins Ad Audience

Brian Williams Nightly News Replacement
Image Courtesy of NBC

Lester Holt isn’t giving up on the war to woo evening-news viewers.

After losing the battle to win more of the audience advertisers in news programming covet, the NBC “Nightly News” anchor lured a greater number of viewers between 25 and 54  for the five days between April 13 and April 17, than David Muir at ABC’s “World News Tonight”or Scott Pelley at CBS’ “Evening News,” according to data from Nielsen.

The numbers suggest the dust has yet to settle over the evening-news race in the wake of a six-month suspension doled out to longtime anchor Brian Williams. He disclosed earlier this year that he falsified accounts of an NBC News trip to Iraq in 2003. NBC continues to investigate Williams, and people seem divided over whether he ought to return to the “Nightly” desk.

Meantime, there’s still an intense push-and-pull going on between NBC and ABC, the latter of which won more viewers overall for the most recent five-day period and has trumped NBC in that category for the last three weeks. “NBC Nightly News” had been the most-watched newscast in the U.S. for more than five years dating back to September, 2009.

The margin of separation between the two networks’ newscasts is razor thin – just 7,000 viewers. “Nightly News” won an average of 1,795,000 viewers between 25 and 54, according to Nielsen, compared withan average of 1,788,000 for “World News Tonight” and an average of 1,523,000 for “CBS Evening News.”

All three newscasts lost viewers in the demo compared with the week-earlier period. ABC’s audience dipped 12% from 2,032,000. NBC’s fell 2.55% from 1,842,000 and CBS’; dipped 3.1% from 1,571,000.

ABC, however, remained the nation’s most-watched newscast – a distinction that is less important to advertisers than it is to the networks. ABC’s “World News” lured an average of 7,891,000 during the most recent five-day period, compared with an average of 7,737,000 for NBC and 6,780,000 for CBS.

All three network newscasts lost viewers in that category as well. ABC’s average total viewership dipped 4.4% from 8,250,000 in the week earlier period. NBC’s fell 3.6%from 8,022,000, and CBS’ slipped by just 0.66% from 6,825,000.

Ultimate victory could be within NBC’ s or ABC’s grasp. “Nightly’s” lead over “World News” in viewers between 25 and 54 season to date is just 1%, while its lead in total viewers over ABC is only 5%.

While the CBS newscast typically comes in third, the network has maintained its delivery of viewers between 25 and 54 year over year and saw its overall viewership rise 8%, from 6,300,000 over the year-earlier week.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 27

Leave a Reply

27 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. JULIET M. says:

    Lester Holt should be given the permanent anchor position for NBC’s Nightly News. He has earned the slot and Brian Williams should be made to retire.

  2. S. Cox says:

    Please keep Lester Holt on the Nightly News. Bringing back the arrogant Brian Williams is an insult.

  3. pmccann16@verizon.net says:

    L Holt or Krl Cnt, no more BW   

  4. Mary Ann Gonsalves says:

    Keep Lester Holt. He is a true professional in every way, and he deserves the job.
    . If Brian Williams returns I’ll be watching something else-not NBC.

  5. Dick Manford says:

    Do not allow Brian Williams to re-enter NBC Nightly News. Keep Lester Holt who projects as a real human. Williams is a robot in all relevant categories.

  6. M. Foree says:

    My family thoroughly enjoys Mr. Holt’s newscast and find it a refreshing change.
    We will switch from NBC should Mr. Williams returns.

  7. pam says:

    Keep Lester Holt on! We even love him here in Canada!

  8. Sally D. says:

    Lester Holt gives us a dignified presentation of the news–good speaking voice, too.
    Keep him!! It’s his turn…..he’s earned it!

  9. PATRICIA A MCCANN says:

    Keep Lester Holt or Karl

  10. ted says:

    These idiots at NBC don’t read comments at all. If they did, they should have dumped Williams a long, long time ago!

  11. L.D. Bullock says:

    I like Lester Holt. Keep Lester Holt.

    • cujokay says:

      Lester Holt has proven to be a good news anchor, hard worker and more importantly a man of integrity! If they don’t give him the job, I’ll stop watching NBC News POINT BLANK PERIOD! I have no desire to see Brian Williams again.

  12. Chuck Martin says:

    Holt has had virtually no personal promotion. Give him the job, let people get to know him and his family and make him the face of NBC News and he will emerge a real winner for NBC. David Muir is a news actor and Scott Pelly puts me to sleep. If he spoke any more slowly I would think he thought that his audience had a serious mental deficiency. Go for it Lester. Brian will do well as a host of a talk show on MSNBC or CNN.

  13. ddweedy says:

    Mr. Andy Lack,Please review and carefully consider the advice of many still-loyal NBC viewers out there: Give Williams’ his dismissal (he appears to be all about himself, not about the current news) and put your faith in Mr. Lester Holt’s professional demeanor. Lester is the man for the job. Mr. Holt is the reason I still tune in to NBC.

  14. Marie d. Garcia says:

    This is the First time that ABC has done something right for a change. ABC has had some High profile Anchors who excuse me for being blunt who ARE USELESS. ABC has hired prima Donnas who think that just because they look good for the camera cant give a clean and honest down to earth presentation as Lester Holt. KEEP HIM!!!! This is not a popularity contest. This is about giving hard facts news with professionalism and the seriousness it requires. Half of the population is IGNORANT AND PLAIN STUPID!!! However, the rest of us have college degrees and know how to value professionals with Integrity and honesty. If we want to look at stars than tell the audience to look at dumb and useless Entertainment variety shows that cater to the IGNORANT AND THE DUMMIES of the 2000 Generations and previous late 90’s generations. Furthermore, their are half of us who were born back in the late 6-0’s and Early 70’s who appreciate good hard fact news that represent Journalistic professionalism with integrity and honesty. Lester Holt embodies what American journalists need currently ETHICAL PROFESSIONALISM. I really enjoy his professionalism and hope that ABC does the right thing. Don’t sell yourself to popularity, you will only cheapen good Anchors.

  15. Judy says:

    Please keep Lester Holt!!!!!

  16. Alan Janssens says:

    I don’t want to ever see Brian ‘theft of valor’ Williams on TV again. Lester Holt gets the job done..he’s the Bob Scheiffer of NBC..just give him a few years. CBS has dropped the ball as far as writing goes..pathetic some nights.

  17. Shirl UNATIN says:

    Nobody better than Lester Holt, still an NBC evening news watcher with Brian gone, but Lester is still the best!

  18. MarinDem says:

    I will continue to watch Scott Pelley and the CBS Evening News which is the most trustworthy and most respected news department of them all. I have never ever watched ABC and after Tom left NBC Nightly News so did I. From early morning with Charlie Rose, Nora O’Donnel & Gayle King until it’s time for the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley there is no other news department that can compare. And let’s not forget the Dean of Sunday News Shows Bob Schieffer. Who else does a Sunday Morning News Show any better than Bob. He has earned his retirement, but I believe leaves the show in good hands – surely much better than anybody who has attempted to take over the mantle of Tim Russert. Take all the ratings and surveys you wish – nobody can compare to CBS :-)

    • cujokay says:

      You are welcome to your opinion. It is wrong, but you are welcome to it, lol! (a little levity; I couldn’t care less what news you watch.) It was just too easy. You left yourself open.

    • George Herschell says:

      Lester Holt is doing a fantastic job and he should be kept on.
      “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” and right now it “ain’t” broke with him there.

      • Diane Carroll says:

        Lester Holt is a true professional. If Brian Williams comes back it will be a disgrace to NBC and I will then tune in to ABC. Lester Holt is the man for the job – permanently!

More TV News from Variety

Loading