Week of April 26 Evening News Ratings: Despite Declines, ABC World News Tonight Marks 57 Straight 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 26, averaging nearly 8 million total viewers and 1.5 million adults 25-54. While relatively low for the newscast, that’s still a better delivery than its NBC and CBS evening news counterparts both in total viewers and in the key A25-54 demo for the 57th 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.

However, the newscast lost -1% of its average total audience, and -4% of its A25-54 demo audience from the prior week.


Compared to the same week in 2020, ABC World News Tonight was down -24% in its average total audience, and lost -30% of its adults 25-54 audience. Again, the decline isn’t shocking. We were still in the relatively early stages 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 then, and that means less of a desire to watch the evening news.

Additionally, World News Tonight was only rated for 3 days last week, Monday-Wednesday, due to ABC’s coverage of the 2021 NFL Draft on Thursday, April 29 and Friday, April 30.

Over on NBC, Nightly News with Lester Holt averaged 6.6 million total viewers and 1.2 million adults 25-54 this past week; the newscast’s tightest margin with World News Tonight in four weeks (since the week of March 29).

Compared to the prior week, the newscast gained +1% in total viewers but lost -2% in adults 25-54. Relative to the same week in 2020, Nightly was -31% in total viewers, and -42% among adults 25-54.

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 million views, with the average viewer watching for more than 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 5 million total viewers, and 826,000 adults 25-54 for the week. That’s a gain of +1% in total viewers but a -1% loss in adults 25-54 viewers compared to the prior week. The newscast was down -24% in total viewers and -28% in adults 25-54 vs. the year-ago week.

Despite the year-over-year drop, Evening News is the closest its been to Nightly News through 32 weeks of a season since 2015-2016.

Finally, CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News retitled/excluded their Wednesday broadcasts due to President Biden’s address to Congress on April 28. Each newscast’s weekly ratings are based on just 4 days of viewership, while World News Tonight is based on 3 days, as previously mentioned.

Below, the Nielsen live-plus-same-day averages for the week of April 26, 2021:

• Total Viewers: 7,979,000 6,601,000 4,998,000
• A25-54: 1,504,000 1,219,000 826,000




Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54. Live + SD Current Week (w/o 4/26/21), Previous Week (w/o 4/19/21) and Year-Ago Week (w/o 4/27/20). Most Current: 2020 -2021 Season (9/21/20-5/2/21) and 2019-2020 Season (9/23/13-5/4/20). Nielsen ratings for ABC, NBC and CBS include additional airings in select markets. Beginning 8/31/20, national ratings include Out of Home (OOH) viewing. Averages based on regular telecasts.