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Week of April 20 Evening News Ratings: World News Tonight Remains Most-Watched Program in America, Despite Posting Week-to-Week Losses

By A.J. Katz 

ABC World News Tonight with David Muir was the most-watched newscast for the week of April 13, marking 74 consecutive weeks at No. 1 in Total Viewers. The ABC evening newscast has also finished No. 1 in Adults 25-54 for four consecutive weeks.

That’s if one takes into account live-plus-same-day data from Nielsen.

World News Tonight’s average of 11 million total viewers last week made it the most-watched program on all of television for the second consecutive week.


One caveat: The ABC newscast was only rated for three days last week, Monday-Wednesday, due to coverage of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Overall, World News Tonight is seeing its most-watched season in 16 years and strongest key Adults 25-54 performances in four years—since the 2003-04 and the 2015-16 seasons, respectively.

It’s leading NBC by its largest news demo margin (+65,000 – 1.95 million vs. 1.9 million) in 24 years and taking the top spot in the demo for the first time at this point of a season in 12 years—since the 1995-1996 and the 2007-2008 seasons, respectively.

Compared to the same week in 2019, World News Tonight was +29% in Total Viewers and +39% in the key A25-54 demo. However, compared to the prior week in 2020, the newscast shed double-digit percentage points: -11% in Total Viewers and -14% in A25-54 viewers.

World News Tonight’s ratings include 3:30 p.m. airings in Los Angeles and San Francisco, which give the newscast a ratings bump.

The NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt gave World News Tonight a run for its money in the A25-54 measurement. However, it remained in second place across the board for the fourth consecutive week. Nightly News did manage to beat ABC and CBS in the key demo on Thursday, averaging more than a week-high 2.4 million viewers in that measurement, and it was still the third-most-watched program on television (excluding sports and syndication), averaging 9.65 million viewers in total.

Compared to the same week in 2019, Nightly News was +26% in Total Viewers and +38% in the key demo. Compared to the prior week in 2020, Nightly was slightly down, -2% in Total Viewers and -4% in the key A25-54 demo.

Nightly News’ ratings include 7:30 p.m. airings across four owned stations, which give the newscast a ratings bump.

The CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell was CBS’ most-watched show on Monday and Thursday of last week, and the network’s third-most-watched show of the week.

According to Nielsen data, Evening News averaged 6.7 million total viewers and 1.27 million A25-54 viewers last week. However, including the new 4 a.m. airing, CBS is saying that its evening newscast brought in a gross audience of 7.22 million total viewers and 1.42 million A25-54 viewers. As of now, Nielsen does not take that airing into account in its reporting.

CBS Evening News’ ratings are comprised of telecasts with regular titling and include overnight airings on owned stations.

Compared to the same week in 2019, Evening News was +19% in Total Viewers and +15% in the key demo. However, versus the prior week in 2020, it was -4% in Total Viewers and -3% in the demo.

Nielsen live-plus-same-day numbers for the week of April 20:

• Total Viewers: 10,994,000 9,649,000 6,690,000
• A25-54: 2,342,000 2,146,000 1,267,000




Averages based on regular telecasts. Broadcast and Cable ranker for w/o 4/20/20 based on Total Day.

Data source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54 Live + SD Current Week (w/o 4/20/20), Previous Week (w/o 4/13/20) and Year-Ago Week (w/o 4/22/19).

Most Current: 2019-2020 Season (9/23/19-4/26/20) and 2018-2019 Season (9/24/18-4/28/19).