Here Are Evening News Ratings for 2020-’21 Season and Q3 2021

By A.J. Katz 

ABC World News Tonight with David Muir was the No. 1 evening newscast for the 2020′-21 TV season, both in average total viewers (8.74 million) and among adults 25-54 (1.69 million). The newscast won all 52 weeks of the season in total viewers for the second consecutive season, and marked five straight seasons at No. 1 in average total viewers after NBC had won the previous 20 seasons in the measurement.

Compared to the 2019-’20 season, ABC’s flagship newscast dipped, posting a loss of -7% in total viewers, and -10% among adults 25-54. To be fair, the 2019-’20 season featured wall-to-wall coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and a presidential campaign. Both events attracted massive audiences to the evening news.

NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt finished in second place in total viewers and adults 25-54 for the third consecutive season. NBC’s flagship newscast averaged 7.32 million viewers, and 1.41 million adults 25-54 in the 2020-’21 season. Compared to 2019-’20, that’s -11% in total viewers and -20% among adults 25-54. More significant losses than what ABC and CBS experienced.

CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell made some slight gains on the competition, averaging 5.4 million total viewers and 984,000 adults 25-54 in the 2020-’21 season. That’s -8% in average total viewers and -11% in adults 25-54 from what the newscast averaged in 2019-’20, less severe than the losses its competition experienced.

Click below for the averages for the previous seven seasons:

2019-2020  |  2018-2019, | 2017-2018 | 2016-2017 | 2015-2016 | 2014-2015 |2013-2014

Numbers for 2020-’21 TV season:

ABC NBC CBS
• Total Viewers: 8,738,000 7,322,000 5,397,000
• A25-54: 1,685,000 1,414,000 984,000

 

 

 

How did the evening newscasts far in Q3, ratings-wise?

ABC World News Tonight was the highest-rated newscast for the quarter, unsurprisingly, averaging nearly 8 million total viewers and 1.48 million adults 25-54. That’s less than -1% in total viewers and -2% among adults 25-54 from the previous quarter (Q2, ’21). Compared to Q3 of last year, World News Tonight was -10% in total viewers, and -13% among adults 25-54. The year-over-year losses aren’t shocking, considering how wild the news cycle was in 2020.

NBC Nightly News grew in average total viewers (+1%) and among adults 25-54 (+1%) from Q2. However, compared to Q3  of 2020, Nightly News shed -12% in total viewers and -19% among adults 25-54.

Lastly, CBS Evening News shed -1% in total viewers but actually grew by +4% among adults 25-54 vs. the prior quarter. It is worth noting, however, that the newscast declined to rate its Friday episodes, which gave the newscast a bit of a ratings bump relative to Q2. Compared to Q3 of 2020, the newscast was down -9% in total viewers, and -9% among adults 25-54.

Numbers for Q3, 2021:

ABC NBC CBS
• Total Viewers: 7,986,000 6,622,000 4,851,000
• A25-54: 1,477,000 1,225,000 879,000

 

 

 

Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54. Live + SD Current Week (w/o 9/13/21), Previous Week (w/o 9/6/21) and Year-Ago Week (w/o 9/14/20). Most Current: 2020 -2021 Season (9/21/20-9/19/21) and 2019-2020 Season (9/23/13-9/20/20). Most Current – 3Q21: 6/28 – 9/19/21. 2Q21: 3/29 – 6/27/21. 3Q20: 6/29 – 9/20/20. Nielsen ratings for ABC, NBC and CBS include additional airings in select markets. Beginning 8/31/20, national ratings also include Out of Home (OOH) viewing. Averages based on regular telecasts.

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