Week of April 5 Evening News Ratings: World News Tonight Hits 54 Straight Weeks At No. 1, CBS Evening News Sees Gains

By Mollie Cahillane 

ABC World News Tonight with David Muir was the No. 1 evening newscast for the week of April 5, averaging more than 8.1 million total viewers and nearly 1.6 million adults 25-54. Those numbers put ABC ahead of its NBC and CBS evening news counterparts both in total viewers and in the key A25-54 demo for the 54th straight week.

Compared to the prior week, World News Tonight was flat in total viewers and gained 3% in the key A25-54 demo. Compared to the same week in 2020, ABC World News Tonight lost -28% in its average total audience, and -35% of its adults 25-54 audience. The year-over-year drop is a trend that will continue for all of the evening newscasts compared to last year’s news-heavy spring. The week of April 6, 2020 featured an abundance of major news events, including Boris Johnson’s hospitalization with coronavirus; the CDC first recommending Americans wear face masks; unemployment skyrocketing. The evening newscasts also aired multiple editions per day at this time last year, which boosts ratings.

Even despite the falling ratings trends, World News Tonight had its largest season lead over NBC Nightly News in 26 years and over CBS Evening News in 29 years.


NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt averaged nearly 6.6 million total viewers and more than 1.1 million adults 25-54 this past week.

Compared to the prior week, Nightly News dropped -5% in total viewers and -8% adults 25-54. That’s still an improvement over the same week in 2020, when Nightly fell -29% in total viewers, and -50% among adults 25-54.

NBC chooses to stream its flagship newscast on YouTube, unlike ABC and CBS. That brings in some additional eyeballs that aren’t measured by Nielsen. On the platform, Nightly’s full episodes reached an average of 1 million viewers, with the average viewer watching for close to 13 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 873 adults 25-54. That’s a gain of 3% in total viewers and 6% in adults 25-54 compared to the prior week; -27% in total viewers and -38% in adults 25-54 vs. the news-heavy week one year ago.

CBS Evening News was the most-watched show on CBS Wednesday last week.

It’s worth noting that due to the NCAA Championship game on April 5, CBS Evening News did not count the retitled news telecast toward the weekly and season averages. CBS’ weekly averages are based on four days (Tuesday-Friday).

Below, the Nielsen live-plus-same-day averages for the week of April 5, 2021:

• Total Viewers: 8,175,000 6,497,000 5,036,000
• A25-54: 1,598,000 1,167,000 873,000



Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54 Live + SD Current Week (w/o 4/5/21), Previous Week (w/o 3/29/21) and Year-Ago Week (w/o 4/6/20). Most Current: 2020 -2021 Season (9/21/20-4/9/21) and 2019-2020 Season (9/23/13-4/5/20). 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.