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Dateline NBC topped ABC’s 20/20 in the Friday newsmagazine ratings race across the board for the fifth consecutive quarter, but it lost viewers relative to Q2 2017.
The averages for Q2 2018 (Nielsen live-plus-same-day data):
- Total Viewers: NBC: 4.1M / ABC: 2.86M
- A25-54 viewers: NBC: 1.2 M / ABC: 854k
- A18-49 viewers: NBC: 873k / ABC: 651k
NBC’s longest-running prime time show, Dateline averaged 4.1 million total viewers on Fridays, leading 20/20 by +1.2 million (+44 percent) and increasing its advantage over its rival by +40 percent (+357,000) versus Q2 ’17. It The 1.2 million total viewer advantage represents Dateline’s largest 2Q lead over 20/20 since 2000.
The 4.1 million total is +6 percent from Q1 ’18, but it also happens to be a -10 percent fall from the program’s Q2 ’17 total viewer average (4.56 million). 20/20’s year-over-year total viewer decline was worse, the program was -23 percent in total viewers versus Q2 ’17 (3.7 million).
Additionally, Dateline won the key A25-54 news demo for second quarter, averaging 1.2 million viewers and topping 20/20 by +346,000 (+39 percent), its largest 2Q lead over ABC in the demo in 15 years.
Dateline was also +2 percent (+22,000) in A25-54 vs. Q1 ’18 while ABC was down -18 percent (-196,000) in the same demo. But similar to the total viewers trend, Dateline was down in the demo versus Q2 ’17, -19 percent to be exact. 20/20’s year-over-year decline in the A25-54 demo was steeper, -33 percent.
Among the 18-49 demo, Dateline averaged 873,000 viewers, +222,000 (+34 percent) more than ABC, increasing its lead over “20/20” by +19 percent (+35,000) vs. 2Q’17. This marked the shows’ largest 2Q lead over ABC in A18-49 since 1999. But similar to the categories above, Dateline posted double digit audience losses relative to its Q2 2017 performance. The program was -23 percent in the A18-49 demo, while 20/20 was -32 percent.
That said, there was a bit of good news for 20/20 this past quarter. On June 1st, the ABC newsmagazine won its 10 p.m. hour by +40 percent in total viewers (3.9 million), and tied as Friday’s No. 1 TV show among adults 18-49. Head to head in the 10 p.m. hour, 20/20 beat Dateline across the board. 20/20 reported on a woman who authorities maintain committed suicide even though her family believes she was killed by her deputy sheriff boyfriend.