Week of Jan. 1 Evening News Ratings: Top-Ranked World News Tonight and Competition Post Week-to-Week Gains

By A.J. Katz 

David Muir, Lester Holt and Norah O’Donnell returned to their respective evening news anchor chairs on January 2 after a holiday break, and audiences returned with them.

On that Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024, ABC World News Tonight with David Muir delivered its most-watched telecast (9.06 million) in nearly a year and its largest Adults 25-54 audience (1.42 million) in nine months — since Jan. 31, 2023 and March 27, 2023, respectively.

Per live-plus-same-day data from Nielsen, ABC’s evening newscast averaged more than 8.4 million total linear viewers for the week of Jan. 1, 2024, gaining +10% from the previous week (the week beginning on Christmas Day) and finishing No. 2 on across all of U.S. broadcast and cable television, excluding sports programming. WNT also averaged more than 1.2 million viewers from the key A25-54 demo for the week, which is +11% from the week before. Conversely, ABC’s evening newscast shed -9% in total viewers—and -23% in A25-54 viewers versus the first week of 2023, as the unfortunate trend of shedding linear viewers from the year prior continues into 2024.


Nevertheless, taking its Jan. 1, 2024 performance into account, World News Tonight has now defeated its competition from NBC and CBS 266 of the past 267 weeks in average total viewers—and 194 of the past 197 weeks among adults 25-54.

Second-place NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt averaged nearly 7.21 million total viewers along with nearly 1.14 million A25-54 viewers for the week of Jan. 1. That’s a solid +15% and +14%, respectively, from what the newscast drew in those measurements the week prior, and more week-to-week audience growth than its ABC and CBS counterparts. The 1.14 million A25-54 average also happens to be the newscast’s largest delivery in the measurement since February of last year. Similar to its ABC rival, however, Nightly News posted year-over-year losses. The newscast shed -7% in total viewers—and -16% in A25-54 viewers relative to the year-ago week.

Additionally, according to data from Adobe Analytics and Partner Portals—and the YouTube Analytics Portal, full weekday episodes of NBC Nightly News earned an average of 604,000 views and 427,000 total viewers streaming via YouTube.

The CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell averaged 5.035 million total viewers for the week of Jan. 1, 2024, which is +3% from the previous week—but -11% from the year-ago week. The newscast also averaged 702,000 adults 25-54 this past week, which is a gain of +1% from the previous week—but a -26% loss from the year-ago week.

All three evening newscasts were retitled on Monday, New Years Day. ABC also retitled on Wednesday due to NBA coverage in prime time (Bulls vs. Knicks).

Nielsen live-plus-same-day averages for the week of Jan. 1, 2024:

• Total Viewers: 8,399,000 7,208,000 5,035,000
• A25-54: 1,202,000 1,737,000 702,000

Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54 Live + SD Current Week (w/o 1/1/24), Previous Week (w/o 12/25/23) and Year-Ago Week (w/o 12/26/22). Most Current Data Stream: 2022-2023 Season (9/25/23 – 1/7/24) and 2022-2023 Season (9/19/22 – 1/1/23). 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.