ABC World News Tonight with David Muir is officially the No. 1 evening newscast for the 2021′-22 TV season, both in average total viewers (8.145 million) and among adults 25-54 (1.47 million). That’s now six consecutive seasons as the most-watched evening newscast. NBC Nightly News had won the previous 20 seasons.
Not only did World News Tonight continue to grab the largest total audience, but it spent all 52 weeks this broadcast season as the top-rated newscast in Adults 25-54; including both weeks during an NBC Olympics for the first time in more than 30 years.
In addition, the ABC evening newscast stood as the most-watched program on all of Nielsen-rated U.S. TV for 17 of the 52 weeks of the season, spending more weeks at No. 1 than any other program in 2021-’22.
But that’s where the celebrating ends. Compared to the 2020-’21 season, ABC’s flagship newscast shed a good chunk of its audience from the previous season, -7% in total viewers and -13% among adults 25-54—and saw NBC close the total viewership gap a bit.
Speaking of NBC, Nightly News With Lester Holt averaged 6.87 million viewers and 1.2 million adults 25-54 in the 2021-’22 season. Compared to 2020-’21, that’s -6% in total viewers, but -15% among adults 25-54. That’s now four consecutive seasons that NBC Nightly News has finished No. 2 both in total viewers and A25-54.
On YouTube, Nightly News full episodes reached 739,000 video views and 591,000 video viewers. That’s according to data from Adobe Analytics and Partner Portals; YouTube Analytics Portal.
CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell averaged 4.94 million total viewers and 833,000 adults 25-54 in the 2021-’22 season. That’s -9% in average total viewers and -15% in adults 25-54 from what the newscast averaged in 2020-’21.
Evening news ratings trended in the wrong direction in 2021-’22 and that’s problematic. However, the three main network newscasts are still attracting a combined 20 million viewers, not to mention those who are streaming the evening news who aren’t counted by Nielsen. That’s a lot of Americans who continue to be interested in the genre on a nightly basis.
Numbers for 2021-’22 TV season:
|• Total Viewers:||8,145,000||6,874,000||4,938,000|
Numbers for Q3 2022:
|• Total Viewers:||7,406,000||6,215,000||4,467,000|
How did the evening newscasts fare in Q3 (“the summer quarter”), ratings-wise?
Eh, not so hot.
ABC World News Tonight is the highest-rated newscast for the quarter, unsurprisingly, averaging 7.41 million total viewers and 1.27 million adults 25-54—marking 22 consecutive quarters as the most-watched evening newscast and 11 consecutive quarters as the top-rated evening newscast among adults 25-54—since Q2 2017 and Q1 2020, respectively.
That’s where the positives end. World News Tonight shed -6% in total viewers and -10% among adults 25-54 from the previous quarter (Q2, ’22). The trend was worse relative to Q3 of last year, as World News Tonight fell by -7% in total viewers and -14% among adults 25-54.
NBC Nightly News averaged 6.215 million total viewers (No. 4 on US TV excluding sports, specials and syndication) and 1.01 million adults 25-54 in Q3. That represents a -4% drop-off in average total viewers and a -6% drop-off among adults 25-54 from the prior quarter (Q2 2022). Despite the quarter-to-quarter decline, NBC was able to close the gap with ABC a bit in multiple audience measurements. However, compared to the year-ago quarter (Q3 of 2021), Nightly News shed -6% in total viewers and nearly a fifth of its A25-54 linear audience (-18%).
Additionally, on YouTube, Nightly News full episodes reached 739,000 video views and 591,000 video viewers in Q3. That’s according to data from Adobe Analytics and Partner Portals; YouTube Analytics Portal.
Lastly, CBS Evening News averaged 4.47 million total viewers and 731,000 adults 25-54 in Q3. That’s -5% in total viewers and -5% among adults 25-54 vs. the prior quarter. Compared to Q3 of 2021, the newscast was down -8% in total viewers, and -17% among adults 25-54.
Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54 Live + SD. Most Current: 2021-2022 Season (9/20/21 – 9/18/22) and 2020-2021 Season (9/21/20 – 9/19/21). L+7/Most Current – 3Q22: 6/27 – 9/18/22,.2Q22: 3/28 – 6/26/22. 3Q21: 6/28 – 9/19/21. 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.