Evening News Ratings: Week of Dec. 16

By A.J. Katz 

ABC World News Tonight with David Muir was the No. 1 evening newscast for the week of Dec. 16, the week prior to Christmas and Hanukkah, and a week which featured a House impeachment vote.

World News Tonight not only averaged the largest total audience for the week (8.78 million), but it also averaged +48,000 more adults 25-54 for the week.

Additionally, WNT has averaged the largest total audience for 13 weeks of the season and the last 56 weeks overall. It averaged +843,000 more total viewers than NBC Nightly News, which is a change of +140% from the same week last year.

Season to date, World News Tonight (8.63 million) ranks No. 1 in total viewers at this point of the season for the 4th consecutive year. In fact, the newscast is more than doubling its total viewer lead over NBC from last season (+154% – 718,000 vs. 283,000), for its largest lead in 24 years.

NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt finished No. 2 in the key categories last week, including total viewers and its key A25-54 demographic.

Despite the 2nd place finish, Nightly News remains No. 1 in the advertiser-preferred A25-54 demo for the 2019 calendar year to-date, and No. 1 in the demo for Q4 2019 to-date. It’s presently tied in the aforementioned demo for the 2019-2020 broadcast season to-date. The latter is not great news for a newscast that has dominated ABC in the demo for years.

The CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell remained in 3rd place this past week, and posted year-over-year audience losses.

The Nielsen calendar year and 4th quarter of 2019 come to an end this week. We’ll publish a report examining the final Q4 2019 ratings next week.

Compared with the same week in 2018, ABC was flat in total viewers, NBC was -6% and CBS was -7%. The year-over-year losses among adults 25-54 were rougher. ABC was -5% in the demo, but NBC -12% and CBS was also -12% in the demo compared to the week of Dec. 17 2018.

It’s also worth noting that on Wednesday (Dec. 18), Nightly News was pre-empted due to the impeachment vote. A final vote ABC and NBC did not carry in real-time. As a result, NBC’s weekly averages are based on 4 days (Mon-Tues and Thurs-Fri).

The averages for the week of Dec. 16, 2019:

• Total Viewers: 8,774,000 7,931,000 5,782,000
• A25-54: 1,680,000 1,632,000 1,079,000




Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54 Live + SD Current Week (w/o 12/16/19), Previous Week (w/o 12/9/19) and Year-Ago Week (w/o 12/17/18). Most Current: 2019–2020 Season (9/23 – 12/22/19) and 2018–2019 Season (9/24 – 12/23/18). Nielsen ratings for ABC, NBC and CBS include additional airings in select markets. Averages based on regular telecasts.