Week of March 30 Evening News Ratings: World News Tonight Posts Significant Week-to-Week Audience Growth

By A.J. Katz 

ABC World News Tonight with David Muir was the No. 1 evening newscast last week, putting up huge numbers in Total Viewers and the A25-54 demo.

ABC’s evening newscast averaged 13.7 million total viewers and 3.1 million adults 25-54 during the week of March 30, according to the most current live-plus-same-day data from Nielsen.

The 13.7 million viewer average made World News Tonight the most-watched program in America last week, and represents the newscast’s largest overall audience in over 23 years – since the week of Jan. 13, 1997. In addition, its 3.1 million A25-54 average over the 5 nights represents in its best Adults 25-54 performance in over 12 years– since the week of Jan. 21, 2008.

World News Tonight has been the most-watched evening newscast all 28 weeks of the season and the last 71 weeks overall, and is seeing its most-watched season in 15 years—since the 2004-05 season.

The NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt took second place across the board this past week, after earning first place in the demo the prior week. However, it was the fourth-most-watched program in America for the week of March 30 with nearly 11 million total viewers and No. 5 among A25-54 viewers (excluding syndication).

The CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell was CBS’ No. 1 program last Monday, and earned top 5 finishes across the network’s programming slate on Tuesday-Friday.

Compared to the same week in 2019, World News Tonight was +68% in Total Viewers and +99% in the key A25-54 demo. Nightly News was +39% in Total Viewers and +54% in the key demo. Evening News was +23% in Total Viewers and +37% in the key demo.

Compared with the prior week, which might be a more relevant comparison considering the unique circumstances we find ourselves in, World News Tonight was +15% in Total Viewers and +12% in the A25-54 demo. Nightly News was -3% in Total Viewers and -12% in the key demo. Evening News was -1% in Total Viewers and -6% in the demo.

It’s worth noting that the Nielsen ratings for last week’s evening newscasts include additional airings in select markets.

In addition to the ABC World News Tonight first-run airings at 6:30 p.m. ET, and re-airs of the broadcast in some markets, the week of March 30 Nielsen ratings for WNT include 7:30 p.m. ET live updates which aired in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Raleigh-Durham and Fresno. There was also the usual double-run of WNT in the LA and San Fran markets (3:30 and 6:30 p.m. PT).

NBC also presented an additional 7:30 p.m. ET repeat airing of Nightly News in a number of markets. According to the network, those markets are New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Hartford.

CBS Evening News’ ratings are comprised of telecasts with regular titling and include overnight airings on owned stations. The CBS Evening News included its 4 a.m. airing, which, according to CBS, pulled in 658,000 viewers, would theoretically give the broadcast an average of 7.991 million viewers for the week.

Starting today, April 6, the averages for CBS Evening News will include the second run of Evening News that airs at 4 a.m.

Numbers for the week of Mar. 30, 2020:

• Total Viewers: 13,676,000 10,603,000 *7,333,000
• A25-54: 3,126,000 2,590,000 1,518,000




Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54  Live + SD Current Week (w/o 3/30/20), Previous Week (w/o 3/23/20) and Year-Ago Week (w/o 4/1/19). Most Current: 2019-2020 Season (9/23/19-4/5/20) and 2018-2019 Season (9/24/18-4/7/19).  Averages based on regular telecasts.