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

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.

More TV

  • Judith Light shot by Peter Yang

    Judith Light to Receive Variety Icon Award at Canneseries

    Judith Light will receive the third-ever Variety Icon Award at Canneseries. “Everyone at Variety is thrilled to partner again with Canneseries to honor a performer who represents the best of the acting profession,” said Daniel Holloway, executive editor, TV, at Variety. “Judith Light is one of our greatest actors, one whose work has long been nothing [...]

  • Netflix Corporate Headquarters in Los Gatos

    Netflix Looks to Dispel Myths in Berlin as it Ramps Up European Production

    Netflix is looking to create more transparency and dispel some of the myths around working with the streaming giant as it ramps up its European operations, though the company’s fast-paced shooting schedules are “not for everyone,” director of international originals Rachel Eggebeen said Tuesday morning at the Berlinale Series Market. “It’s a fast pace that [...]

  • Piv Bernth

    Sweden's SVT Orders Crime Drama ‘Blackwater’ From ‘The Killing’ Producer Piv Bernth

    Swedish broadcaster SVT has ordered a six-part TV adaptation of Kerstin Ekman’s crime novel “Blackwater” from Piv Bernth’s Apple Tree Productions. The series will be coproduced with ARD Degeto in Germany, and Filmpool Nord, and distributed internationally by ITV Studios. It has pre-sold to DR in Denmark, NRK in Norway, YLE in Finland, and RUV [...]


    Marvin Kren on His Upcoming Netflix Original Thriller Series ‘Freud’

    “Freud,” Netflix’s upcoming mystery thriller from director by Marvin Kren, places a young Sigmund, before his establishment as a worldwide medical icon, in the middle of a brutal 19th century murder case in Vienna. A Vienna native himself, Kren won numerous awards for his work in TV (“Four Blocks”) and film (“Rammbock,” “Blood Glacier”). In addition [...]

  • Heide Schwochow, Constantin Lieb and Christian

    ‘Transitniki’ Wins Trip to Lille’s Series Mania at Berlin CoPro Series 2020

    Reciprocating an exchange which saw Series Mania 2019 Co-Pro Pitching winner “Capturing Big Mouth” participate at this year’s Berlin CoPro Series, German project “Transitniki” will make the return trip to Lille next month, having been selected by Series Mania representatives in Berlin. From Germany’s Rohfilm Factory, “Transitniki” is set in 1985, behind the Iron Curtain, [...]


    Endemol Shine’s Lars Blomgren Talks Growth in Scripted, the New Drama Series Landscape

    BERLIN — In the run-up to the Berlinale Series Market, the Endemol Shine Group announced the launch of a new and powerful scripted label in Berlin, MadeFor Film, headed by joint CEOs, Nanni Erben and Gunnar Juncken. Here, “The Bridge” executive producer Lars Blomgren, who was appointed Endemol Shine head of scripted, EMEA in June [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content