Week of Aug. 24 Evening News Ratings: World News Tonight Remains No. 1, Posts Week-to-Week and Year-Over-Year Growth

By A.J. Katz 

This past week, the evening newscasts on all three of the major broadcast networks posted audience growth from the previous week.

ABC World News Tonight With David Muir finished the week of Aug. 24 as the most-watched show on U.S. TV, averaging 8.51 million total viewers across five nights.

For ABC’s flagship newscast, that’s now 13 consecutive weeks at No. 1 across the TV landscape.


The broadcast also topped its NBC and CBS competition in adults 25-54, averaging 1.65 million for the week.

It was a strong week for the newscast, not only in terms of overall finish, but in terms of trends as well. World News Tonight was +7% in total viewers and +7% in the key demo versus the previous week in 2020 (DNC week, w/o Aug. 17). The newscast was also +3% in total viewers and +8% in adults 25-54 from the same week in 2019 (week of Aug. 26).

ABC World News Tonight is having its most-watched season in 17 years and averaging its largest adults 25-54 audience in five years—since the 2003-04 and the 2015-16 seasons, respectively.

NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt averaged 7.24 million total viewers and 1.5 million adults 25-54 during the week of Aug. 24. Nightly News was the fourth-most-watched show on all of U.S. television (excluding sports and syndication) and No. 7 among adults 25-54, dropping a bit from the previous week.

Despite a decline on the U.S. TV totem pole, Nightly News delivered +9% growth in A25-54 demo viewers from the prior week, more than ABC and CBS. Nightly News was also up in total viewers from the prior week (+12%). The performance wasn’t quite as strong on a year-over-year basis. Versus the year-ago week (Aug. 26, 2019), Nightly was -3% in total viewers and -8% in A25-54 demo viewers.

For the week of Aug. 24, first-run broadcasts of the CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell averaged 5.25 million total viewers and 959,000 A25-54 viewers, making it the network’s No. 1 show.

Compared to the prior week, Evening News was +7% in total viewers and +12% in the key demo. However, relative to the year-ago week, Evening News was flat in total viewers but -7% among adults 25-54.

CBS Evening News viewership figures shown below are once again based on a four-day average (Mon.-Thurs., retitled Fri). The newscast was retitled on four out of five Fridays in August. Neither ABC nor NBC retitled its respective broadcasts in August.

*Nielsen ratings for ABC, NBC and CBS include additional airings at various times during the day, and in a variety of markets, large and small.

Nielsen live-plus-same-day averages for the week of Aug.  24:

• Total Viewers: 8,738,000 7,241,000 5,249,000
• A25-54: 1,705,000 1,494,000 959,000




Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54  Live + SD Current Week (w/o 8/24/20), Previous Week (w/o 8/17/20) and Year-Ago Week (w/o 8/26/19). Most Current: 2019-2020 Season (9/23/19-8/31/20) and 2018-2019 Season (9/24/18-9/2/19). Nielsen ratings for ABC, NBC and CBS include additional airings in select markets. Averages based on regular telecasts. Broadcast and Cable ranker for w/o 8/24/20 based on Total Day.