ABC, CBS Close Ratings Gap With NBC in Evening News Race

Alphabet is closer to Peacock than it's been in five years; Eye has most-watched Q1 since 2007

ABC, CBS Close Ratings Gap With NBC Evening News Race

ABC and CBS are making gains in the evening news ratings race, closing the gap in the first quarter with longtime leader NBC.

“The NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams” finished the quarter that ended March 29 comfortably on top in total viewers (9.008 million) and adults 25-54 (2.434 million), according to Nielsen, but this repped modest declines of 1% and 4%, respectively, vs. last year.

“ABC World News Tonight,” anchored by Diane Sawyer, grew by 5% in total viewers (to 8.251 million) and by 3% in the key news demo (to 2.153 million). As a result, it reduced NBC’s advantage to less than 800,000 total viewers and less than 300,000 adults 25-54.

This is the closest the ABC newscast has been relative to “NBC Nightly News” in five years — since Charles Gibson was in the anchor chair.

Last year, ABC’s ayem program “Good Morning America” moved ahead of NBC’s “Today” for the first time in 17 years and has stayed on top since, so the Alphabet clearly has some momentum in news.

And the “CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley” grew a bit in adults 25-54 for its largest first-quarter demo delivery (1.98 million) since 2009. It shot up by 7% in total viewers as well, with its average nightly audience for the first quarter (7.04 million) its largest in six years — when Katie Couric fronted the broadcast.

The CBS newscast shaved about 500,000 viewers off the NBC first-quarter lead of a year ago.