×

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

  • Friends reunion

    'Friends' Cast to Reunite for Exclusive HBO Max Special

    It’s happening: The “Friends” cast is reuniting for an exclusive untitled unscripted special on HBO Max. Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer will return to the original “Friends” soundstage, Stage 24, on the Warner Bros. Studio lot in Burbank to celebrate the long-running series, which ended its run [...]

  • Regina King Watchmen

    HBO Reclassifies 'Watchmen' as a Limited Series, Including 'Possible Future Installments'

    In the ongoing saga of whether HBO’s “Watchmen” will continue after its initial, acclaimed season late last year, the pay cable network announced on Friday that it is reclassifying the show from a drama series to a limited series, including for “any possible future installments.” The move aligns HBO’s awards season campaign for “Watchmen” with [...]

  • Tubi

    Fox in Talks to Acquire Free-Streaming Service Tubi for Over $500 Million (Report)

    Fox Corp. is in discussions about acquiring Tubi, the ad-supported free streaming service, in a deal worth more than $500 million, according to a Wall Street Journal report citing anonymous sources. With Tubi, Rupert Murdoch’s TV broadcasting and cable company would be adding a dedicated streaming component — offering over 20,000 older TV shows and [...]

  • Priah Ferguson

    'Stranger Things' Ups Priah Ferguson to Series Regular for Season 4 (EXCLUSIVE)

    Priah Ferguson has been promoted to series regular on the upcoming fourth season of “Stranger Things,” Variety has learned exclusively from sources. Ferguson began on the Netflix show as a guest star, appearing in four episodes of the second season, before moving up to a recurring role in Season 3. She has received critical praise [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content