20/20 Wins the Quarter; Dateline Leads Season-to-Date

By A.J. Katz 

The Friday news magazine ratings battle between Dateline NBC and ABC’s 20/20 has always been a competitive one. Dateline won the 2015-2016 broadcast season across the board, and is leading the current season to-date. But 20/20 has had a strong start to 2017.

The ABC mainstay beat Dateline head-to-head in the 10 p.m. hour in total viewers and in the key A25-54 demographic. 20/20 kicked off the quarter with episodes involving celebrity deaths, Diane Sawyer‘s My Reality: Hidden America special, and interviews with the Trump family.

This is the first time in 5 years 20/20 has topped Dateline in a first quarter. But while the quarter was strong, both newsmagazines are down compared to Q1 2016. It should also be noted Dateline aired fewer episodes than 20/20 this past quarter, and even fewer than in Q4 2016 or Q1 2016.

Here are the numbers:

Q1 ’17 Q4 ’16 Q1 ’16 vs. Q4 ’16 vs. Q1 ’16
Total Viewers 20/20  5.635M 5.215M 5.853M +8% -4%
 Dateline  5.075M 6.410M 6.364M -21% -20%
 A25-54  20/20  1.915M 1.824M 2.138M  +5% -10%
 Dateline  1.895M 2.329M  2.419M  -19% -22%

While Dateline NBC may have experienced audience declines from previous quarters, it maintains the season-to-date lead.

Show Name Net Total Viewers A25-54
Dateline NBC 4.725M 1.629M
20/20 ABC 4.519M 1.533M

Dateline is in the midst of its 25th anniversary season on NBC, and today fans will be able to take their photos with life-size cut outs of the correspondents and anchor Lester Holt at 30 Rock’s NBC store.

Dateline Team Mug Shots