Week of Aug. 9 Evening News Ratings: World News Tonight Returns to No. 1 Among Adults 25-54

By A.J. Katz 

Nielsen data for the week of Aug. 9, 2021 is in, and order in the evening news ratings race has been restored. ABC World News Tonight with David Muir was the top evening newscast for the week, both in total viewers and among adults 25-54.

This, after NBC Nightly News earned back-to-back weekly wins in the key A25-54 demo, wins aided by the network’s coverage of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

According to live-plus-same-day data from Nielsen, World News Tonight finished the week of Aug. 9 by averaging 7.85 million total viewers, and 1.44 million adults 25-54.


The 7.85 million means that World News Tonight was the most-watched show on TV last week.

ABC’s evening newscast predictably saw its audience grow from the previous week, both in average total viewers (+6%), and in the key A25-54 demo (+7%). However, compared to the same week during the news-heavy year of 2020, World News Tonight shed -8% of its average total audience, and -12% of its A25-54 demo audience.

NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt fell back to No. 2 for the week in the key A25-54 demo (1.21 million), while remaining second in average total viewers (6.51 million) on linear. NBC Nightly News, which was the third-most-watched show on all of TV last week, lost -16% in adults 25-54 and -6% in average total viewers from the prior week (Aug. 2). It also fell -18% in A25-54 viewers, and -10% in average total viewers compared to the same week in 2020. A ratings decline from the second week of the Olympics was to be expected, and it indeed happened.

Additionally, on YouTube, weekday episodes of Nightly News reached 916,000 views and 747,000 viewers last week watching for an average of over 12 minutes. That’s according to data from Adobe Analytics and Partner Portals, and the YouTube Analytics Portal.

CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell averaged 4.72 million total viewers, and 863,000 adults 25-54 for the week of Aug. 2. That represents a -1% drop-off in total viewers, but +8% growth in adults 25-54 from the prior week.  CBS Evening News fell -12% in average total viewers from the year ago week, and -10% in A25-54.

CBS Evening News ranked as the most-watched program on CBS Tuesday through Thursday, and as the No. 1 program among adults 25-54 on Tuesday.

CBS’ evening newscast was rated based on a three-day average (Tuesday-Thursday), once again choosing to retitle on a Summer Friday, as well as on Monday. ABC and NBC rated all five days.

Nielsen live-plus-same-day averages for the week of August 9:

• Total Viewers: 7,849,000 6,513,000 4,723,000
• A25-54: 1,440,000 1,205,000 863,000