Evening News Ratings: Nov. 2019 Sweeps

By A.J. Katz 

The Nov. 2019 sweeps period is complete, and the most current data from Nielsen shows ABC beating NBC and CBS in the evenings in both Total Viewers and Adults 25-54. The last time ABC finished No. 1 in a November sweeps period in both of those measurements was 1996.

World News Tonight with David Muir out delivered its main ratings rival NBC Nightly News by an average of +784,000 Total Viewers. That marks 14 consecutive sweep periods that ABC has had the most-watched evening newscast during a sweeps period, and represents its largest gap in total viewership for a November sweeps period since 1995.

Additionally, World News Tonight averaged +6,000 Adults 25-54 than Nightly News during Nov. 2019 sweeps. This represents the first time World News Tonight has won a November sweeps in the A25-54 demo since 2014.

Anchored by Lester Holt, NBC Nightly News finished in second place in the key measurements during the Nov. 2019 sweeps period. Despite being overtaken by ABC in the A25-54 demo recently, Nightly News is still on track to finish 2019 as the top evening newscast in that key category.

During the Nov. 2019 sweeps period, Holt received numerous awards, including the 2019 Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism (Nov. 4), and the Giants of Broadcasting & Electronic Arts.

CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell continues to increase its average total audience after what was a very slow start. That said, the broadcast still posted the most significant year-over-year losses of the big three. Despite being stuck in 3rd in the ratings, Evening News is excited about its recent move to its fancy, new Washington D.C. studio. The CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell originated from Washington D.C. yesterday evening for the first time.

Compared with Nov. 2018 sweeps, World News Tonight was +3% in total viewers. NBC Nightly News was -4% and CBS Evening News was -8%. All three newscasts were down in the demo from Nov. 2018. ABC was -4%, NBC was -8% and CBS was -13% year-over-year. It’s worth noting that Nov. 2018 featured a midterm election, a time when casual and younger news viewers are more likely to watch the evening news than at other times of the year.

November 2019 sweeps:

• Total Viewers: 8,945,000 8,161,000 5,780,000
• A25-54: 1,754,000 1,748,000 1,126,000




Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54. Sweeps based on Live+7/Most Current:  November 2019 Sweep (10/31 – 11/27/19), November 2018 Sweep (10/25 – 11/21/18).   Sweep periods (November, February, May and July).  NOTE: Due to the digital transition, the 2009 February sweep was 3/5 – 4/1/09. Averages based on regular telecasts.