ABC’s ‘World News With Diane Sawyer’ Rises to Three-Year Ratings High

It closes the demo gap with NBC's 'Nightly News,' beating the leader on two nights

Diane Sawyer

ABC continues to make inroads in the evening news ratings derby, with “World News With Diane Sawyer” hitting a three-year demo high in a news-heavy week.

Posting year-over-year increases for the fourth time in the last five weeks, “World News” averaged 2.703 million adults 25-54 for the week of Jan. 27-31, according to Nielsen. This enabled it to pull to within 118,000 of longtime leader “NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams” (2.821 million) while also opening up some distance on third-place “CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley” (2.296 million). “World News” won head-to-head on both Monday and Wednesday.

NBC still held about a 1 million total-viewer advantage over ABC (10.474 million to 9.400 million), which enjoyed a similar lead on CBS (8.357 million).

All three newscasts are seeing robust ratings early in 2014, but the gains in adults 25-54 last week for “World News” (21%) were greater than those for either “Evening News” (+15%) or “Nightly News” (+11%). Its tally last week, a frame that included President Obama’s State of the Union address and coverage of the Atlanta snowstorm fiasco, represented the best score for the Sawyer-fronted newscast since early in 2011.

“World News” likely also benefited from the network’s exclusive interview with Amanda Knox on “Good Morning America,” portions of which were also shown on the evening newscast.

The ratings gains at “World News” come at a time that the network’s “20/20” has been on a ratings roll of its own. Last Friday, a special report from Sawyer and David Muir on kids and guns, and may have contributed to the especially strong week for “World News.”

Season to date, ABC’s “World News” is up 2% in adults 25-54 (2.101 million vs. 2.063 million) to close the gap with NBC, which is off 3% (2.356 million vs. 2.419 million). The Alphabet program has also nearly doubled its advantage over third-place CBS newscast (340,000 vs. 176,000 a year ago) for its largest advantage since the 2010-11 season