Week of July 26 Evening News Ratings: Boosted by Olympics, ‘NBC Nitely News’ Is No. 1 Among Adults 25-54

By A.J. Katz 

Ratings for the week of July 26, 2021 are in, and NBC’s evening newscast (known last week as “NBC Nitely News”) finished the week as the No. 1 evening newscast among adults 25-54.  The broadcast averaged 1.49 million adults 25-54 to go with 7.15 million average total viewers on linear last week.

The Sunday, August 1 edition of the Lester Holt-anchored program was the most-watched show on all of TV for the week (excluding sports and syndication), averaging 8.9 million total viewers and 2.35 million A25-54 viewers.

NBC’s evening newscast was lifted by NBC Olympics coverage. It grew by +41% in adults 25-54 and +16% in average total viewers from the previous week. Relative to the same week in 2020, NBC gained +2% in A25-54 viewers, but shed -4% in average total viewers.


Compared to the first week of the 2016 Summer Games, the broadcast shed -14% in A25-54 viewers, and -31% in average total viewers. Now to be fair, NBC’s 2020 Olympics ratings are significantly down from 2016, so the evening news numbers were bound to be down as well.

As is hinted at in the intro, NBC Nightly News decided to retitle all of last week’s broadcasts to “NBC Nitely News,” and the Nielsen ratings for last week’s shows won’t actually count towards NBC Nightly News’ season averages. Why did NBC decide to retitle the newscast and consequently exclude last week’s ratings? The reasoning is that NBC’s Olympics evening coverage preempted the newscast at its normal time in West Coast and Mountain time zones.

Additionally, on YouTube, weekday episodes of Nightly News reached  640,000 views and 516,000 viewers last week. That’s according to data from Adobe Analytics and Partner Portals, and the YouTube Analytics Portal.

ABC World News Tonight with David Muir finished the week of July 26 at No. 1 in average total viewers, a title it has held for 140 consecutive weeks, and because NBC News decided to retitle Nightly News as “Nitely News” last week, ABC is proclaiming that World News Tonight remains the No. 1 evening newscast in all key categories, including adults 25-54.

ABC beat NBC’s evening news offering in average total viewers for the first time during a summer Olympics week in 29 years (7.6 million). World News Tonight also averaged 1.43 million adults 25-54 this past week.

ABC’s evening newscast was rated based on a four-day average (Monday-Wednesday, Friday) this past week, due to NBA Draft coverage this past Thursday.

Compared to the previous week (July 19), World News Tonight lost -1% in average total viewers, but gained +2% in the key A25-54 demo. Versus the comparable week in 2020, World News Tonight shed -12% of its average total audience, and -14% of its A25-54 demo audience.

CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell averaged 4.84 million total viewers, and 861,000 adults 25-54 for the week. That’s a +3% gain in total viewers, and +1% gain in adults 25-54 from the prior week.  CBS Evening News lost viewers from the year ago week, -8% in total viewers and -10% in A25-54.

CBS Evening News was rated based on a four-day average (Monday-Thursday), once again choosing to retitle on Friday.

Nielsen live-plus-same-day averages for the week of July 26:

• Total Viewers: 7,595,000 7,152,000 4,844,000
• A25-54: 1,432,000 1,491,000 861,000




Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54 and Adults 18-49 Live + SD Current Week (w/o 7/26/21), Previous Week (w/o 7/19/21) and Year-Ago Week (w/o 7/27/20). Most Current: 2020 -2021 Season (9/21/20-8/1/21) and 2019-2020 Season (9/23/13-8/2/20). 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.