Week of Feb. 21 Evening News Ratings: World News Tonight Remains No. 1 as Newscasts Gain Viewers From Ukraine Coverage

By A.J. Katz 

The evening newscasts traditionally see audience growth during major news events, and that’s what happened late last week in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

According to live-plus-same-day data from Nielsen, ABC World News Tonight with David Muir finished the week of Feb. 21, 2022 as the No. 1 evening newscast, averaging the most total viewers (8.98 million) and the most adults 25-54 (1.7 million).

America’s top evening newscast (and the most-watched regularly-scheduled show for the week) gained +3% in total viewers and +7% in adults 25-54 from the prior week (Feb. 14), driven by breaking news coverage of Ukraine. Compared with the same week in 2021 (Feb. 22), however, the trend was worse, with World News Tonight losing -5% in average total audience and -5% among adults 25-54.


Nevertheless, ABC’s evening newscast has now defeated its competition from NBC and CBS 169 of the past 170 weeks in average total viewers—and 98 of the last 100 weeks among adults 25-54.

NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt had a nice week, averaging 7.56 million total viewers (No. 3 on all of U.S. TV) and 1.46 million adults 25-54 during the week of Feb. 21. The evening newscast gained +8% in total viewers and +10% among adults 25-54 from the prior week, more growth than ABC and CBS. Compared to the same week in 2021, the newscast lost -1% in total viewers but gained +2% in adults 25-54.

The newscast’s 1.46 million adults 25-54 average represents a seven-week high in the measurement (since the week of January 3, ’22).

Additionally, on YouTube, full weekday episodes of NBC Nightly News averaged 811,000 views and 639,000 viewers this past week.

The CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell averaged 5.34 million total viewers and 912,000 adults 25-54 for the week of Feb. 21. That’s a +1% in total viewers and +5% gain among adults 25-54 from the previous week. The year-over-year trend was substantially worse, however, with Evening News losing -7% in average total viewers and -14% among adults 25-54.

Nielsen live-plus-same-day averages for the week of Feb. 21, 2022:

• Total Viewers: 8,975,000 7,561,000 5,337,000
• A25-54: 1,699,000 1,457,000 912,000




Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54 Live + SD Current Week (w/o 2/21/22), Previous Week (w/o 2/14/22) and Year-Ago Week (w/o 2/22/21). Most Current: 2021-2022 Season (9/20/21 – 2/27/22) and 2020-2021 Season (9/21/20 – 2/28/21). 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.