Week of July 20 Evening News Ratings: World News Tonight Marks 8 Straight Weeks as the Most-Watched Show in America

By A.J. Katz 

More good ratings news for ABC World News Tonight with David Muir: It finished the week of July 20 as not only the No. 1 evening newscast among both Total Viewers and Adults 25-54, but also as the most-watched show on all of U.S. television.

A dominant performance is nothing new for World News Tonight. In fact, that’s now 17 straight weeks at No. 1 among the evening newscasts and eight straight weeks as the most-watched show on all of TV.

For the second time in the last three weeks, WNT also was No. 1 on U.S. television among Adults 25-54, a rare achievement for the newscast.


ABC World News Tonight averaged 8.82 million Total Viewers and 1.71 million A25-54 viewers for the week. Overall, it is having its most-watched season in 17 years and strongest key Adults 25-54 performances in five years—since the 2003-04 and the 2015-16 seasons, respectively.

NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt continues to finish in second place behind WNT in the key measurements, and averaged 7.55 million Total Viewers and 1.51 million Adults 25-54 during the week of July 20. However, it remained the second-most-watched show on all of U.S. television (excluding syndication) and No. 3 on U.S. TV among Adults 25-54.

Another nice week.

Nightly News was -1% in Total Viewers from the prior week (July 13) and -1% in the key A25-54 demo. It did grow from the year-ago week, +8% in Total Viewers and +3% in A25-54 demo viewers.

Additionally, Nightly News delivered its most-watched July since 2015.

For the week of July 20, first-run broadcasts of The CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell averaged 5.34 million Total Viewers and 934,000 A25-54 viewers from Monday-Thursday. Throwing the 4 a.m. re-air into the mix, that number grows to 5.88 million total and 1.11 million A25-54.

The newscast delivered mixed results from the prior week. It was +2% in Total Viewers, but -2% in the A25-54 demo. Relative to the year-ago week (July 22, 2019), Evening News was +2% in the demo, but +13% in Total Viewers.

One might recall that at this time last year, CBS was blacked out for customers of DirecTV, DirecTV Now and AT&T U-Verse in 17 cities, as well as more than 100 O&Os and affiliates on DirecTV Now. CBS Evening News ratings were especially rough at that time, and a year-over-year improvement was inevitable.

Unlike ABC and NBC, Evening News’ numbers for the week of July 20 were based on a four-day average.

CBS has made a habit of retitling Evening News’ Friday broadcasts recently. In fact, the network decided to retitle each Friday Evening News broadcast in July. Friday is traditionally the lowest-rated day of the week, and because of the retitling, ratings for these broadcasts won’t count toward the season and year-end ratings averages.

Later this week, we’ll dive deeper into this retitling trend.

ABC World News Tonight delivered a nice performance on a week-to-week basis. The broadcast stayed flat in the demo, but was +3% in Total Viewers. The newscast ratings remained strong compared with the year-ago week, +11% in Total Viewers and a solid +16% in the 25-54 demo.

*Nielsen ratings for ABC, NBC and CBS include additional airings at various times during the day, and in a variety of markets, large and small.

Nielsen live-plus-same-day averages for the week of July 20:

• Total Viewers: 8,822,000 7,553,000 5,336,000
• A25-54: 1,712,000 1,506,000 934,000




Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54 and Adults 18-49 Live + SD Current Week (w/o 7/20/20), Previous Week (w/o 7/13/20) and Year-Ago Week (w/o 7/22/19). Most Current: 2019-2020 Season (9/23/19-7/26/20) and 2018-2019 Season (9/24/18-7/28/19). Nielsen ratings for ABC, NBC and CBS include additional airings in select markets. Averages based on regular telecasts. Broadcast and Cable ranker for w/o 7/20/20 based on Total Day.