Week of Feb. 3 Evening News Ratings: ABC World News Tonight Posted Its Largest Margin of Victory in Total Viewers Since May 1997

By A.J. Katz 

With its Democratic primary debate set for Friday night, the broadcast news world focused on ABC News. That spotlight seemed to benefit the network’s evening newscast greatly.

World News Tonight with David Muir finished the week of Feb. 3 as the No. 1 evening newscast for the 8th straight week in Total Viewers and Adults 25-54. The program out-performed its NBC rival by an average of 1.3 million total viewers and 110,000 adults 25-54 per broadcast last week.

World News Tonight posted its largest margin of victory in Total Viewers (1.3 million) since the week of May 26, 1997. The newscast won all 20 weeks of the season and the last 63 weeks overall.


Additionally, World News Tonight is also No. 1 for the season to-date among Adults 25-54, leading NBC by its largest A25-54 margin (+39,000) in 24 years —since the 1995-1996 season.

NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt remains the second-most-watched evening newscast season to-date, both in Total Viewers and in Adults 25-54. While Nightly continues to lag behind ABC in key categories, its A25-54 viewer advantage over CBS is +10% higher than the prior year, and total viewer advantage over CBS is +5% higher than the prior year.

The CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell remained in 3rd place, but averaged its largest weekly audience of 2020.

Compared to the same week 1 year ago, CBS Evening News was -8% in Total Viewers and -17% in Adults 25-54. NBC Nightly News was -5% in Total Viewers and -9% in Adults 25-54. ABC World News Tonight was -3% in Adults 25-54, but +2% in Total Viewers.

The averages for the week of Feb. 3, 2020:

• Total Viewers: 9,627,000 8,317,000 6,227,000
• A25-54: 1,914,000 1,804,000 1,179,000




Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54 Live + SD Current Week (w/o 2/3/20), Previous Week (w/o 1/27/20) and Year-Ago Week (w/o 2/4/19). Most Current: 2019-2020 Season (9/23/19-2/9/20) and 2018-2019 Season (9/24/18-2/10/19). Nielsen ratings for ABC, NBC and CBS include additional airings in select markets. Averages based on regular telecasts.

Lastly, CBS Evening News, ABC World News Tonight, and NBC Nightly News ratings are comprised of telecasts with regular titling and include overnight airings on owned stations. World News Tonight’s ratings also include 3:30 p.m. airings in LA and San Francisco. All 3 programs were rated based on a 4-day average. NBC and CBS were retitled on Tuesday due to State of the Union coverage and ABC was retitled on Friday due to Democratic debate coverage.