Nightly News Wins May Sweeps, But World News Tonight Wins Another Week

By A.J. Katz 

In the world of evening news, May 2016 sweeps belongs to the Peacock. NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt won its 35th consecutive sweep among total viewers and its 4th consecutive sweep in the A25-54 demo. Nightly was up 3 percent in total viewers and up 6 percent in the news demo from May 2015 sweeps.

ABC World News Tonight with David Muir took No. 2 spot among total viewers and A25-54. The program was up 3 percent in total viewers versus May 2015 sweeps, but down 7 percent in the news demo.

CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley held No. 3 spot in key categories, and it saw year-over-year improvement for the May sweep: +1 percent in total viewers and +3 percent in the news demo. The 6.686 million is the program’s best total viewer delivery for a May sweep in 10 years, and its 7.35 million total viewer delivery for the entire TV season is also the best in 10 years.

Numbers for May Sweeps, 2016:

• Total Viewers: 7,948,000 7,912,000 6,686,000
• A25-54: 1,866,000 1,692,000 1,508,000




Nightly News may be coming off of a solid sweep victory, but World News Tonight appears to be getting its mojo back when it comes to total audience. For the second consecutive week, World News defeated Nightly News in total viewers, up +4 percent year-over-year. Prior to the back-to-back weekly wins in total viewers, WNT had not finished No. 1 since the first week of February.

Nightly News improved 1 percent in total viewers year-over-year, while CBS Evening News fell less than 1 percent.

Despite the impressive total viewer win for World News Tonight, the program continues to struggle in the news demo. It was down 11 percent year-over-year in A25-54 this past week. Nightly was up 3 percent in the demo and Evening News was up 1 percent.

Numbers for the week of May 23, 2016:

• Total Viewers: 7,753,000 7,950,000 6,396,000
• A25-54: 1,827,000 1,671,000 1,461,000