Norah O’Donnell’s D.C. Move Brings Early Ratings Spike to ‘CBS Evening News’

Norah O’Donnell’s move to Washington, D.C. for “CBS Evening News” appears to have sparked new interest in the venerable program.

An average of 1.44 million people between the ages of 25 and 54 watched the program’s debut from its new studio in the nation’s capital, according to Nielsen, a figure that is 41% higher than the program’s season-to-date average of 1.02 million.  Advertisers place more focus on this demographic when it comes to audiences for news programming. Meanwhile, the initial broadcast lured an average of 6.81 million viewers, a figure that is 25% higher than the 5.43 million the show has attracted season to date.

Both figures represent the biggest audiences O’Donnell has won since she launched her tenure on “CBS Evening News,” one of TV’s longest-running regular programs that has ties to Walter Cronkite.

For the five days ended November 29, “CBS Evening News” captured an average of nearly 1.18 million viewers between 25 and 54 and an average of 6 million overall.

CBS News executives are betting that the move to D.C. will lend new momentum to “CBS Evening News,” which has languished in third place behind ABC’s “World News Tonight” and NBC’s “NBC Nightly News” for years. The show launches its new era just as the U.S. House of Representatives is wrapping its impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump’s relationship with Ukraine and as the field of Democrats vying to challenge Trump for the Oval Office in 2020 is starting to narrow.

The hope at CBS is that O’Donnell’s years of covering the White House, Congress and other national institutions combined with a show that is based alongside those elements of government will provide can’t-miss moments and lure new viewers to the program.

ABC’s “World News Tonight” continues to capture the most viewers of the three broadcast-network newscasts, capturing for the five days ended November 29 an average of more than 1,75 million viewers between 25 and 54 and more than 8.9 million overall. NBC’s “NBC Nightly News” commanded an average of nearly 1.75 million in the demo and more than 8.16 million overall.


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