Week of May 25 Evening News Ratings: ABC, NBC, CBS Lose Total Viewers From Prior Week, but World News Tonight Remains on Top

By A.J. Katz 

ABC World News Tonight with David Muir finished the week of May 25 as the No. 1 evening newscast across the board, marking nine consecutive weeks at No. 1 in the genre among both Total Viewers and Adults 25-54. The newscast averaged 9.39 million total viewers and 1.88 million A25-54 viewers for the week.

World News Tonight has averaged more Total Viewers than its NBC and CBS evening competition for 79 consecutive weeks.

Overall, World News Tonight is having its most-watched season in 16 years and strongest key Adults 25-54 performances in four years—since the 2003-04 and the 2015-16 seasons, respectively.


Compared to the same week in 2019, which included Memorial Day 2019, World News Tonight was +17% in Total Viewers and +21% in the key A25-54 demo. Compared to the prior week (week of May 18), however, ABC’s evening newscast was -4% in Total Viewers but +1% in A25-54 viewers.

World News Tonight was rated only on a three-day average (Tuesday-Thursday). Monday was Memorial Day, but the network also decided to retitle Friday, May 29, something NBC and CBS did not do.

NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt finished in second place behind WNT in the key measurements, and averaged 8.3 million viewers in total to go with 1.67 million Adults 25-54.

Nightly was the third-most watched program last week and No. 3 among A25-54 viewers (excluding syndication).

Compared to the same week in 2019, Nightly News was +13% in Total Viewers and +7% in the key demo. Compared to the prior week in 2020 (week of May 18), Nightly shed viewers: -4% in Total Viewers and -5% in the key A25-54 demo.

The broadcast was rated based on a four-day average (Tuesday-Friday) due to Memorial Day.

The CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell averaged 5.69 million Total Viewers and 1 million A25-54 viewers last week, making it CBS’ No. 1 show. Those figure do not include the 4 a.m. re-air. Once we receive that data, we will update this item.

Evening News struggled to deliver adults 25-54, both on a year-over-year and on a week-to-week basis. While the newscast was +7% in Total Viewers, it was -4% in the A25-54 demo versus the same week in 2019. Compared to the previous week (week of May 18), the newscast was -5% in Total Viewers and -4% in the A25-54 demo.

As previously mentioned, ABC’s averages are based on three days (Tue-Thurs), while CBS’ and NBC’s ratings averages for last week are based on four days (Tues-Fri).

*NOTE: 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 numbers for the week of May 25:

• Total Viewers: 9,394,000 8,306,000 5,689,000
• A25-54: 1,880,000 1,669,000 1,006,000




Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54 Live + SD Current Week (w/o 5/25/20), Previous Week (w/o 5/18/20) and Year-Ago Week (w/o 5/27/19). Most Current: 2019-2020 Season (9/23/19-5/31/20) and 2018-2019 Season (9/24/18-2/2/19). 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 5/25/20 based on Total Day.