Week of Aug. 23 Evening News Ratings: World News Tonight Is the Most-Watched Show on TV

By A.J. Katz 

Nielsen data for the week of Aug. 23, 2021 is in, and ABC World News Tonight with David Muir was the most-watched show on television, averaging 8.09 million total viewers for the week. It also remained the top evening newscast among adults 25-54, averaging 1.56 million.

On Monday (Aug. 23), World News Tonight scored its most-watched telecast in 5 months (9.22 million), and Adults 25-54 (1.81 million).

ABC’s evening newscast grew in viewership from the previous week, both in average total viewers (+1%), and in the key A25-54 demo (+4%). That’s now back-to-back weeks of viewership growth in the key category.


Compared to the same week in 2020, however, World News Tonight shed -7% of its average total audience, and -8% of its A25-54 demo audience.

Season to date, World News Tonight (8.78 million) is the most-watched evening newscast for the 5th consecutive season, based on most current Nielsen data.

NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt averaged 1.25 million adults 25-54 and 6.9 million total viewers this past week, making it the third-most-watched show on all of TV last week. The broadcast grew +7% in adults 25-54 and +6% in average total viewers from the prior week (Aug. 16). That’s significantly more growth than the competition. The broadcast was lifted by Holt’s exclusive interview with the U.S. Capitol Police officer responsible for shooting and killing protestor Ashli Babbitt while defending the U.S. House chamber during the infamous Capitol attack. The interview aired Thursday.

On the downside, Nightly shed -17% in A25-54 viewers, and -5% in average total viewers from the same week in 2020.

Additionally, on YouTube, weekday episodes of Nightly News earned 988,000 views and 795,000 viewers. That’s according to data from Adobe Analytics and Partner Portals, and the YouTube Analytics Portal.

CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell averaged 4.7 million total viewers, and 915,000 adults 25-54 for the week of Aug. 23. That represents a -2% decline in total viewers, and -6% drop-off in adults 25-54 from the prior week.  The newscast also lost -10% in average total viewers and -5% in A25-54 from the year ago week.

That said, CBS Evening News was the most-watched show on CBS every day it aired last week, and No. 1 in the demo on Tuesday.

CBS’ evening newscast ratings are based on three days, with Monday, Aug. 23 removed due to coverage of the PGA Northern Trust tournament, and Friday (Aug. 27) also removed. ABC and NBC’s evening newscasts’ ratings are based on all five weeknights.

Nielsen live-plus-same-day averages for the week of Aug. 23:

• Total Viewers: 8,087,000 6,894,000 4,703,000
• A25-54: 1,564,000 1,247,000 915,000




Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54. Live + SD Current Week (w/o 8/23/21), Previous Week (w/o 8/16/21) and Year-Ago Week (w/o 8/17/20). Most Current: 2020 -2021 Season (9/21/20-8/16/21) and 2019-2020 Season (9/23/13-8/15/20). 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.