Week of April 12 Evening News Ratings: World News Tonight Marks 55 Consecutive Weeks at No. 1

By A.J. Katz 

ABC World News Tonight with David Muir was the No. 1 evening newscast for the week of April 12, averaging nearly 8.3 million total viewers and 1.55 million adults 25-54. That’s better than its NBC and CBS evening news counterparts both in total viewers and in the key A25-54 demo for the 55th straight week.

World News Tonight is delivering its largest average total viewership in 16 years, and has taken its largest season lead over NBC and CBS in 26 years—since the 1994-1995 season.

WNT grew +2% of its average total audience, but did lose -3% in the demo from the prior week. NBC and CBS, on the other hand, managed to grow their respective A25-54 audiences from the prior week.


Compared to the same week in 2020, ABC World News Tonight was down -33% in its average total audience, and down 43% of its adults 25-54 audience. But that loss makes sense. We were still in the early stage of the pandemic, where many Americans were glued to the evening news, and networks decided to air  multiple editions per day, which boosts ratings.

NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt was the 4th-most-watched show on TV last week (excluding sports and syndie), averaging 7 million total viewers and nearly 1.3 million adults 25-54 this past week. The 7 million total viewer average marks Nightly’s closest gap vs. ABC in total viewers in 15 weeks (since Dec. 28, 2020).

Compared to the prior week, Nightly News grew more than its competition. The newscast grew +6% in total viewers and +11% adults 25-54. However, relative to the same week in 2020, Nightly was -29% in total viewers, and -43% among adults 25-54. Again, no surprise there.

Additionally, unlike ABC’s and CBS’ evening newscasts, NBC’s flagship newscast streams on YouTube and is able to garner some additional eyeballs that way (eyeballs which aren’t measured by Nielsen). On YouTube, Nightly’s full episodes reach an average of 788,000 views, with the average viewer watching for close to 12 minutes. That’s according to data from Adobe Analytics and Partner Portals, and the YouTube Analytics Portal.

Third-place CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell averaged nearly 5.2 million total viewers and 895,000 adults 25-54 last week. That’s an increase of +3% in total viewers and +3% in adults 25-54 compared to the prior week; -26% in total viewers and -31% in adults 25-54 vs. the pandemic coverage-heavy week one year ago.

Evening News was the most-watched show on CBS Monday and Wednesday, and No. 1 among adults 25-54 on the network Tuesday and Wednesday.

Below, the Nielsen live-plus-same-day averages for the week of March April 12, 2021:

• Total Viewers: 8,298,000 6,985,000 5,177,000
• A25-54: 1,554,000 1,295,000 895,000




Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54 and Adults 18-49 Live + SD Current Week (w/o 4/12/21), Previous Week (w/o 4/5/21) and Year-Ago Week (w/o 4/13/20). Most Current: 2020 -2021 Season (9/21/20-4/18/21) and 2019-2020 Season (9/23/13-4/19/20). 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.