ABC’s David Muir Takes Back Madison Avenue Audience From NBC’s Lester Holt

ABC struck back in its ongoing bid to woo evening-news viewers from NBC, making significant gains in luring the viewers Madison Avenue wants most to its “World News Tonight.”

The Disney-owned network said 2,053,000 viewers between the ages of 25 and 54 watched “World News” and its anchor, David Muir, for the five days between April 20 and April 24, according to Nielsen data. In comparison, an average of 1,873,000 viewers watched NBC’s “Nightly News” with Lester Holt during the period, while an average of 1,528,000 watched CBS’ “CBS Evening News” with Scott Pelley.

The results suggest the ABC newscast continues to gain momentum in the absence of Brian Williams, who has been suspended from “Nightly News” for six months after admitting he made false statements about being on a helicopter that took rocket-propelled grenade fire while on a 2003 reporting trip to Iraq. NBC News is investigating this and other claims made by Williams to determine whether he has made other fabrications. As a result, there is a debate within the NBCUniversal unit as to whether the anchor should return to his post, despite the fact that ABC is winning audiences in his absence.

NBC had long dominated the evening-news wars, but ABC in recent weeks has stolen the title. “World News Tonight” has been America’s most-watched evening newscast for four consecutive weeks, and has won the most viewers between 25 and 54 — the audience preferred by advertisers in news programming — for three of the last four weeks.

The margin of separation in that demographic widened this week, with ABC beating NBC by 180,000 viewers. In the prior five-day period, Holt won just 7,000 more viewers between 25 and 54 than Muir.

ABC’s audience in the category rose 14%, up from its average of 1,788,000 in the previous period. Meanwhile, the 25-to-54 audience for NBC’s “Nightly News” rose 4.34% from 1,795,000. CBS’ average in the demo rose just 0.032% from 1,523,000.

“World News Tonight” also won the most viewers during the period, according to Nielsen. An average of 8,219,000 tuned in to the newscast during the period, a rise of 4.15% over an average of 7,891,000 in the previous five-day period. NBC’s “Nightly” won an average of 8,097,000, a 4.65% increase over an average of 7,737,000. CBS won an average of 6,819,000, marking a hike of 0.57% over an average of 6,780,000 in the previous period.

More TV

  • Jenny Wall Eryk Casemiro Nickelodeon

    Jenny Wall Named Nickelodeon CMO, Eryk Casemiro Named Senior VP of Nickelodeon Preschool

    Nickelodeon has hired two new executives, tapping Jenny Wall to become chief marketing officer and Eryk Casemiro to become senior vice president of Nickelodeon Preschool. Most recently CMO at Spotify-owned Gimlet Media, Wall will be responsible for all on- and off-air consumer marketing, brand creative and content launches across all of Nickelodeon’s platforms, including Nicktoons, [...]

  • Liz Garbus on Why We May

    Liz Garbus on Why The World May Never Know 'Who Killed Garrett Phillips'

    By the time Liz Garbus’s two-part documentary “Who Killed Garrett Phillips?” debuts on HBO, there could be a new public lead in the case of the murdered titular 12-year-old. As least, that’s what many may hope after the new St. Lawrence County district attorney admitted a new tip earlier this spring. Garbus says she would [...]

  • Mike Fleiss

    'Bachelor' Producers in Wait-and-See Mode Amid Police Probe Into Fleiss Incident

    Those working on “The Bachelor” and its sister shows are in wait-and-see mode as a domestic incident involving creator Mike Fleiss continues to be investigated in Kauai, according to sources close to production. The results of the police investigation are still pending, after Fleiss’ wife, Laura Fleiss, had accused him of attacking her in their [...]

  • Variety Cord Cutting Placeholder Cable

    Cable Blackouts Growing More Common, Even If Subscribers Get Angry

    Among media companies, “going dark” was once a matter of last resort. Now it’s an option that is seeing more light. CBS is not currently available on DirecTV or AT&T’s U-verse, the result of a battle over how much the two outlets’ owner, AT&T, ought to pay for the right to send CBS into millions [...]

  • maria elena salinas

    CBS News Names Maria Elena Salinas Contributor

    Maria Elena Salinas, one of the best-known anchors in Spanish-language broadcasting, will join CBS News as a contributor, Susan Zirinsky, the unit’s president, told staffers Monday. Salinas stepped down from her role at Univision at the end of 2017 after an on-air tenure of more than three decades. She is expected to contribute reports across [...]

  • Jonathan Taylor Thomas Ed Asner Elliott

    Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Ed Asner, Elliott Gould Seek SAG-AFTRA Board Seats

    Ed Asner, Elliott Gould and Jonathan Taylor Thomas are seeking SAG-AFTRA national board seats as members of presidential candidate Matthew Modine’s progressive Membership First slate. Asner is the former president of the Screen Actors Guild, serving two terms from 1981 to 1985, and winning five Emmys for his role as Lou Grant and two others [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content