NBC Nightly News Wins 4th Consecutive Quarter; World News Tonight Wins Week

By A.J. Katz 

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The NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt was the top evening news program for the second quarter of 2016, finishing No. 1 both in total viewers and the all-important A25-54 demographic. This is the 4th consecutive quarter Nightly News has won in both categories. Nightly posted the biggest total viewer growth (+3 percent) and the biggest A25-54 growth (+4 percent) among the evening newscasts versus the same quarter last year, and it has now won total viewers for 34 of the last 35 quarters.

ABC World News Tonight with David Muir delivered its second-most-watched quarter in nine years, and was up 1 percent in total viewers from the same quarter in 2015. That said, World News fell 9 percent in A25-54 year-over-year, and finished No. 2 behind Nightly News in both key categories. WNT finished No. 1 in total viewers and A25-54 this quarter last year. Why did the under-55 demo seemingly leave the program? Perhaps they will return in Q3.

The CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley remained in third place this past quarter, but the program delivered the network’s best second quarter in the time period in a decade. Evening News delivered slight year-over-year growth both in total viewers (+.1 percent) and in A25-54 (+1.5 percent).

It’s interesting to see that NBC and CBS delivered more year-over-year growth in the news demo (A25-54) than in total viewers. Perhaps this can be attributed to the “entertainment” factor of this election cycle, something which may attract a slightly younger-than-usual viewer to the evening news.

Numbers for Q2, 2016:

• Total Viewers: 7,950,000 8,042,000 6,685,000
• A25-54: 1,723,000 1,899,000 1,510,000




For the week of June 20, World News Tonight with David Muir won the total viewer battle, and was up 1 percent from the comparable week in 2015. WNT has been the most-watched broadcast evening news program for five of the past six weeks. NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (-4 percent) and CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley (-3 percent) were both down in total viewers from a year ago.

Each of the three programs were down in A25-54 viewers, with World News experiencing the most-significant year-over-year loss (-15 percent). Nightly News, which won the demo once again, was down 6 percent year-over-year and CBS Evening News was down 2 percent. It’s useful to note that Lester Holt officially became the anchor of the NBC Nightly News this week last year.

Overall, it was a less than stellar week for the broadcast evening news shows relative to the same week in 2015.

Numbers for the week of June 20, 2016:

• Total Viewers: 7,791,000 7,696,000 6,417,000
• A25-54: 1,644,000 1,845,000 1,446,000