Week of May 10 Evening News Ratings: ABC, NBC, CBS Post Growth From Previous Week Among Adults 25-54

By A.J. Katz 

ABC World News Tonight with David Muir is the No. 1 evening newscast for the week of May 10, averaging nearly 7.9 million total viewers and 1.5 million adults 25-54. That’s a larger audience than its NBC and CBS evening news counterparts both in total viewers and in the key A25-54 demo for the 59th straight week.

World News Tonight also ranked as the third-most-watched show on all of TV (excluding syndication) this past week.

The newscast shed -1% in average total audience, but posted +2% growth among adults 25-54 from the prior week (May 3). Compared to the same week in 2020 (May 19), World News Tonight dropped -21% in its average total audience, and nearly a quarter of its A25-54 audience (-23%). The decline isn’t surprising. The news cycle has calmed quite a bit since that time last year, and this means less of a desire to watch the evening news.


Nevertheless, World News Tonight currently holds its largest season lead over both NBC and CBS in 26 years—since the 1994-1995 season, when Peter Jennings was still anchor.

Speaking of NBC, Nightly News with Lester Holt averaged more than 6.5 million total viewers and 1.22 million adults 25-54 on linear this past week.

This performance marks the smallest total viewer gap versus ABC since last year (Dec. 28, 2020), and the best total viewer advantage over CBS since the week of March 29.

Compared to the prior week, the newscast grew +1% in total viewers, and an impressive +4% in adults 25-54. On the downside, relative to the same week in 2020, Nightly was -26% in total viewers, and lost one-third of its A25-54 audience (-33%).

Unlike ABC’s and CBS’ evening newscasts, NBC’s flagship newscast streams on YouTube and is able to garner some additional eyeballs that way (eyeballs which aren’t measured by Nielsen). On YouTube, Nightly’s full episodes reach an average of 932,000 viewers, with the average viewer watching for more than 12 minutes. That’s according to data from Adobe Analytics and Partner Portals, and the YouTube Analytics Portal.

Third-place CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell averaged more than 4.7 million total viewers, and 822,000 adults 25-54 for the week. That’s a decline of -2% in total viewers but an improvement of +1% in adults 25-54 from the prior week. The newscast shed-23% in total viewers and -23% in adults 25-54 vs. the year-ago week.

Despite the year-over-year drop, the CBS Evening News was the most-watched show on the network last Wednesday, is presently the closest it’s been to Nightly News through 33 weeks of a season since 2015-2016.

Below, the Nielsen live-plus-same-day averages for the week of May 10, 2021:

• Total Viewers: 7,867,000 6,514,000 4,746,000
• A25-54: 1,504,000 1,219,000 822,000




Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54. Live + SD Current Week (w/o 5/10/21), Previous Week (w/o 5/3/21) and Year-Ago Week (w/o 5/11/20). Most Current: 2020 -2021 Season (9/21/20-5/16/21) and 2019-2020 Season (9/23/13-5/18/20). Nielsen ratings for ABC, NBC and CBS include additional airings in select markets. Beginning Aug. 31, 2020, national ratings also include Out of Home (OOH) viewing. Averages based on regular telecasts.