Week of Feb. 20 Evening News Ratings: World News Tonight Remains No. 1 in A25-54, But Sees Margin of Victory Tighten

By A.J. Katz 

NBC gave ABC a run for its money this past week in the evening news ratings race, but couldn’t quite pull off the upset.

ABC World News Tonight with David Muir remained the top-rated evening newscast for the week, and has defeated its competition from NBC and CBS 221 of the past 222 weeks in average total viewers—and 150 of the last 152 weeks among adults 25-54 (although NBC gave ABC a serious run for its money in the demo this time around). ABC’s evening newscast also topped all broadcast and cable TV programming in total audience this past week.

Muir had an exclusive, two-part interview with President Biden, which aired Wednesday, Feb. 22, from Warsaw, Poland, during President Biden’s visit to the region, and Friday, Feb. 24, from the White House. Muir anchored WNT from Warsaw on Tuesday and Wednesday, and from Washington, D.C., on Thursday and Friday.


According to live plus same day data from Nielsen, World News Tonight averaged nearly 8.3 million total linear viewers for the week of February 13, 2023, a less than -1% drop from the previous week (the week of Feb. 13). The program also averaged 1.26 million viewers from the key A25-54 demo, which is -6% from the prior week. Compared to the year-ago week (Feb. 21, 2022), which featured in-depth coverage of the onset of the Russia-Ukraine war, World News Tonight posted losses. The newscast is -8% in total viewers and a whopping -26% in A25-54 demo.

ABC, NBC and CBS all removed their respective Monday evening newscasts from Nielsen measurement due to the Presidents’ Day holiday.

NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt topped World News Tonight in the key Adults 25-54 demo on Thursday and Friday of last week — winning consecutive days for the first time in three years. The newscast also averaged just -96,000 fewer A25-54 viewers than World News Tonight for the week, the tightest margin since November 2021. Nevertheless, NBC Nightly News came in second place the first three days of the week and ended the week of Feb. 13 in the No. 2 spot among A25-54 behind rival ABC.

Season to date, Nightly News has closed the Adults 25-54 gap by over 20% vs. World News Tonight, but remains No. 2 in total viewers by a more substantial margin.

NBC Nightly News would go on to average 7.20 million total viewers on linear this past week, making it the second-most-watched regularly-scheduled show of the week—excluding sports, specials and syndication. The 7.20 million viewer average happens to represent a less than +1% gain  from what the newscast averaged the previous week. Among adults 25-54, NBC Nightly News averaged 1.16 million for the week of Feb. 13, which is +1% from the week prior. However, Nightly News is down in viewers from the year-ago week, -5% in total viewers and -20% in the A25-54 demo.

Additionally, according to data from Adobe Analytics and Partner Portals—and the YouTube Analytics Portal, full weekday episodes of Nightly News earned an average of ,000 views and ,000 total viewers streaming via YouTube.

The CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell averaged 5.055 million total viewers this past week, a -3% drop from the previous week and -5% vs. the year-ago week. The newscast also averaged 773,000 adults 25-54 this past week, which is -4% from the previous week and -15% vs. the year-ago week.

Nielsen live-plus-same-day averages for the week of Feb. 20, 2023:

• Total Viewers: 8,298,000 7,204,000 5,055,000
• A25-54: 1,260,000 1,164,000 773,000




Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54 Live + SD Current Week (w/o 2/20/23), Previous Week (w/o 2/13/23) and Year-Ago Week (w/o 2/21/22). Most Current Data Stream: Season 2022-2023 (9/19/22 – 2/26/23), Season 2021-2022 (9/20/21 – 2/27/22). 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.