Week of March 16 Evening News Ratings: ABC World News Tonight and NBC Nightly News Were 2 Most-Watched Shows on All of TV

By A.J. Katz 

Ratings for the evening newscasts are strong, and it’s no secret as to why: An increasing number of Americans are home at 6:30, and they want the most up-to-date news and coverage concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.

In fact, ABC World News Tonight with David Muir and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt were the two-most-watched programs on all of television last week.

But unlike in recent weeks, NBC Nightly News was also the No. 1 evening news program among Adults 25-54, defeating ABC in the key category. Not only was the NBC newscast No. 1 in the genre, but Nightly News was also the No. 1 program in all of broadcast television among that advertiser-friendly demographic.

The broadcast’s 12 million total viewer average for the week was its largest since 2005, back when Brian Williams was in the anchor’s seat.

ABC World News Tonight may have slipped behind NBC in Adults 25-54, but for the third consecutive week, no show on television attracted more total viewers. In fact, last week’s 12.55 million total viewer average represents ABC’s largest audience in the evenings in more than 20 years.

CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell had a strong week in its own right, finishing among broadcast TV’s top 10 shows. However, the newscast remained in third place behind ABC and NBC.

When compared with the same week one year ago, NBC was +56% in Total Viewers and +98% in the key A25-54 demo. ABC was +45% in Total Viewers and +66% in the key demo. CBS posted +21% growth in Total Viewers and +30% growth in the demo vs. last year.

An average of 32.15 million Americans watched the evening news last week, +43% vs. the comparable week in 2019.

Anyways, below are the numbers for the week of Mar. 16, 2020:

• Total Viewers: 12,545,000 12,006,000 7,602,000
• Adults 25-54: 2,882,000 3,262,000 1,649,000




Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54  Live + SD Current Week (w/o 3/16/20), and Year-Ago Week (w/o 3/18/19). Most Current: 2019-2020 Season (9/23/19-3/22/20) and 2018-2019 Season (9/24/18-3/24/19).

*Averages based on regular telecasts. Broadcast and Cable ranker for w/o 3/16/20 based on Total Day.

*NOTE: Nielsen ratings for ABC, NBC and CBS include additional airings in select markets. Nightly News’ ratings include 7:30 p.m. airings across stations in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Boston. World News Tonight’s ratings include 3:30 p.m. airings in Los Angeles and San Francisco.