Week of Jan. 3 Evening News Ratings: World News Tonight Remains No. 1, While Nightly News Delivers Best Ratings Since Feb. ’21

By A.J. Katz 

David Muir, Lester Holt, and Norah O’Donnell were back in the evening news anchor seat last week after taking some time off for the holidays.

New year, same trend: ABC World News Tonight finished the opening week of 2022 as the No. 1 evening newscast, both in total viewers (9.39 million) and among adults 25-54 (1.80 million).

ABC’s evening newscast has now defeated its competition from NBC and CBS 162 of the past 163 weeks in average total viewers—and 91 of the last 93 weeks among adults 25-54.


World News Tonight’s win was boosted by David Muir’s interview with the three of the officers who testified during the congressional hearings on the Jan. 6 attack. That interview aired on the Wednesday, Jan. 5 broadcast of WNT, and averaged 9.4 million total viewers.

World News Tonight gained +7% in total viewers and +13% in adults 25-54 from the prior week (Dec. 27). Compared with the same week in 2021 (Jan. 4), the trend was worse, with World News Tonight losing -7% in average total audience and -15% among adults 25-54. The substantial year-over-year decline was to be expected, as the year-ago Wednesday featured wall-to-wall coverage of the shocking attack on the U.S. Capitol (Jan. 6, 2021).

Over on NBC, Nightly News with Lester Holt averaged 8.21 million total viewers and 1.55 million adults 25-54. That’s the newscast’s largest audience (total viewers and A25-54), excluding Thanksgiving week, since the week of Feb. 15, 2021. Nightly grew +13% in total viewers and +25% among adults 25-54 from the prior week. Compared to the same week in 2020, NBC’s nightly newscast fell by -4% in total viewers and -12% in adults 25-54; small year-over-year losses relative to what ABC and CBS experienced.

Additionally, on YouTube, full weekday episodes of NBC Nightly News averaged 694,000 views and nearly 556,000 viewers this past week. That’s according to data from Adobe Analytics and Partner Portals; YouTube Analytics Portal.

The CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell averaged 5.705 million total viewers and 1.02 million adults 25-54 for the week of Jan. 3. That’s +11% in total viewers and +14% in adults 25-54 viewers from what the newscast averaged during the week between Christmas and New Year’s.  CBS saw year-over-year losses were more substantial than what its competition experienced, both in average total viewers (-17%) and among adults 25-54 (-32%).

ABC, NBC and CBS evening news ratings for the week of Jan. 3, 2022 are based on all five days. Evening news ratings averages for the previous week were based on just four days (Monday-Thursday), due to New Year’s Eve.

Nielsen live-plus-same-day averages for the week of Jan. 3, 2022:

• Total Viewers: 9,391,000 8,209,000 5,705,000
• A25-54: 1,804,000 1,554,000 1,018,000




Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54. Live + SD Current Week (w/o 1/3/22), Previous Week (w/o 12/27/21) and Year-Ago Week (w/o 1/4/21). Most Current: 2021-2022 Season (9/20/21 – 1/9/22) and 2020-2021 Season (9/21/20 – 1/10/21). As of 8/31/20, national ratings also include Out of Home (OOH) viewing. Averages based on regular telecasts.