ABC’s World News Tonight Is Leading the Evenings

By A.J. Katz 

It has been a big year for NBC News’ Lester Holt. He anchors the No. 1 evening newscast, the No. 1 news magazine program in the demo on Friday (Dateline), and 84 million watched him moderate the first presidential debate of 2016. But, so far this TV season, there’s another network that’s seeing its evening ratings climb: ABC.

ABC World News Tonight with David Muir is coming off its most-watched season in 9 years during which it narrowed the total viewer gap with Nightly News by double digits. And, for the first time since 2009, when Charlie Gibson was anchor, ABC has won a week in September, giving it a win for the first week of the new season. And the winning continues this week.

WNT delivered more total viewers than Nightly News on Monday (+23,000), Tuesday (+428,000), Wednesday (+171,000) and last night (+434,000). That’s +264,000 in average audience over the first 4 nights of the week. With only one evening newscast remaining this week, it’s doubtful NBC will catch its rival.

World News continues to trail Nightly in the key 25-54 demo, and the fact that Holt was off last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to prep for the debate likely impacted ratings, but it’s still hard to ignore the progress World News Tonight is making in average total audience, especially considering Nightly News has defeated World News Tonight in total viewers for 20 consecutive seasons. This is a trend worth keeping track of as we head into the fall.