Week of April 19 Evening News Ratings: Newscasts Lose Total Viewers From Prior Week

By A.J. Katz 

ABC World News Tonight with David Muir was the No. 1 evening newscast for the week of April 19, averaging nearly 8.1 million total viewers and 1.6 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 56th straight week.

World News Tonight was the second-most-watched show of the week (excluding sports and syndie) 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 lost -3% of its average total audience, but but actually gained +1% in the demo from the prior week.


Compared to the same week in 2020, ABC World News Tonight was down -26% in its average total audience, and lost 1/3 of its adults 25-54 audience. Again, the decline isn’t shocking. 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, a move which boosts ratings. Needless to say, the news cycle has calmed quite a bit since thenn. Additionally, World News Tonight was only rated for three days last week, Monday-Wednesday, due to coverage of the 2020 NFL Draft. This year’s draft airs on Thursday, April 29.

NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt averaged 6.5 million total viewers and nearly 1.25 million adults 25-54 this past week. Worse numbers for the newscast that what we usually see.

Compared to the prior week, the newscast fell -7% in total viewers and -4% adults 25-54. Relative to the same week in 2020, Nightly was -32% in total viewers, and a whopping -42% 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 1.1 millio views, with the average viewer watching for 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 failed to averaged 5 million total viewers for the week (4.94 million) and averaged 832,000 adults 25-54. That’s a drop of -5% in total viewers and -7% in adults 25-54 compared to the prior week. The newscast was down -26% in total viewers and -34% in adults 25-54 vs. the year-ago week.

CBS Evening News was the most-watched show on the network Monday, Wednesday and Friday last week and No. 1 in the demo on Wedesday.

Below, the Nielsen live-plus-same-day averages for the week of April 19, 2021:

• Total Viewers: 8,081,000 6,524,000 4,935,000
• A25-54: 1,573,000 1,247,000 832,000




Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54.  Live + SD Current Week (w/o 4/19/21), Previous Week (w/o 4/12/21) and Year-Ago Week (w/o 4/20/20). Most Current: 2020 -2021 Season (9/21/20-4/25/21) and 2019-2020 Season (9/23/13-4/26/20). 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.