ABC World News Tonight is No. 1 For First Time in 7 years

By Chris Ariens Comment

After a false alarm last fall, ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” can now claim its first first place finish in the evenings in 7 years. The results for the week of March 30, which give “World News Tonight” first place in total viewers, the A25-54 demo and the A18-49 demo, come as Muir has been making steady gains on the NBC broadcast.

It also comes as Lester Holt continues filling in for Brian Williams who is serving a 6-month suspension from the network.

“Lester Holt has led NBC Nightly News to great success over the past two months, and we continue to be pleased with his strong performance during this time,” an NBC News spokesperson said following the release of last week’s results. “We’re proud of the caliber of our work and remain committed to delivering the highest quality broadcast for our audience every night.”

“World News Tonight” has been gaining on “Nightly News” since last summer. That is one of the reasons NBC News began re-airing “Nightly News” during the overnight hours in 10 markets across the country. But following complaints from advertisers, those results could no longer be counted toward the weekly average, which may have been enough to put “World News Tonight” over the top.

ABC’s win over NBC last week — its first since the week of Feb. 11, 2008 — was by just +84,000 viewers, or +1%. Internal estimates gave NBC 70,000 extra viewers with those overnight re-airs.

ABC was also the only network to grow year-over-year, up +10% in viewers and up +1% in the demo. “Nightly News” was down -8% in viewers and down -17% in the demo and the “CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley” was down -5% in viewers and down -9% in the demo.

Season-to-date, “Nightly News” remains #1 in total viewers, leading “WNT” by +6% and leading “Evening News” by +26%.

Numbers for the week of March 30, 2015:

• Total Viewers: 7,997,000 7,913,000 6,575,000
• A25-54: 1,952,000 1,791,000 1,458,000