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It was a chaotic 2017 for NBC News. But that chaos didn’t seem to hurt Dateline NBC.
With Lester Holt serving as anchor, joined by correspondents Andrea Canning, Josh Mankiewicz, Keith Morrison and Dennis Murphy; with senior ep David Corvo and ep Liz Cole leading Dateline’s production team, NBC’s longest running prime time program – 26 years and counting – performed well in the ratings this year.
Dateline is finishing the 2017/18 broadcast season to-date and the 2017 calendar year as the No. 1 Friday newsmagazine, and is improving its lead across the board over ABC’s 20/20. The ABC newsmagazine has seen its ratings plummet due in part to poor ratings from its Friday night lead-ins, including Once Upon a Time, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Additionally, 20/20 will see its longtime anchor Elizabeth Vargas depart at the season’s end.
Dateline is averaging nearly 5 million viewers thus far for 2017-2018 season, its largest total audience to start a season in three years. The program also has a +76 percent total viewer advantage over 20/20 right now, the largest lead at this point in the broadcast season in its history.
The NBC newsmagazine also leads its rival when it comes to delivering the younger news demos. Its +63 percent advantage over 20/20 in the A18-49 and A25-54 represents the show’s largest leads in those respective categories since the 2006-2007 season.
“Dateline’s success starts with Lester Holt,” Corvo told staff at this year’s Dateline holiday party. “We’re lucky to have the most popular newsman in America as our anchor. But, we’re also lucky to have four correspondents who are special. They are the best non-fiction short story writers in TV news.”
(For the record, Lester Holt is the most popular newsman in America among adults 25-54 right now.)
2017 was important for Dateline in another respect. The series began syndication this year – so that, coupled with license deals, Dateline can be viewed on a ton of different network. Aside from its run on NBC, it’s available on Investigation Discovery, TLC, OWN, Oxygen, MSNBC, local stations, MyNet and USA.
And for your viewing pleasure, here’s Keith Morrison being, well, Keith Morrison in 2017: