On Tuesday May 5, David Muir sat down for an interview with President Trump for ABC World News Tonight. Muir’s interview delivered roughly 10.1 million viewers and 2.0 million adults 25-54. Those are very average numbers by World News Tonight standards.
Nevertheless, ABC’s evening newscast was still the most-watched program on U.S. television that day, and the most-watched program on U.S. television every other weekday last week.
World News Tonight’s total viewer average of 10.05 million (according to the most-current data from Nielsen) made it the most-watched program on all of television for the third consecutive week. This is according to live-plus-same-day data from Nielsen.
In addition to averaging more total viewers than its NBC and CBS evening competition for 76 straight weeks, World News Tonight also finished ahead of its broadcast competition in the key Adults 25-54 demo for the sixth consecutive week.
Overall, World News Tonight is seeing 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, World News Tonight was +25% in Total Viewers and +28% in the key A25-54 demo.
However, World News Tonight shed viewers versus the prior week. According to the most-current Nielsen data for the week of May 4, ABC’s evening newscast was -3% in Total Viewers and -5% in A25-54 viewers versus the week of April 27.
The NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt finished in second place across the board for the fifth consecutive week. Nightly News was still the third-most-watched program on television last week (excluding syndication), averaging nearly 9 million viewers in total.
Compared to the same week in 2019, Nightly News was +19% in Total Viewers and +14% in the key demo. Compared to the previous week in 2020, Nightly ratings were less than great: -6% in Total Viewers and -12% in the key A25-54 demo.
The CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell was among the top four telecasts for CBS last week.
According to Nielsen data, Evening News averaged 6.4 million total viewers and 1.16 million A25-54 viewers last week. However, including the new 4 a.m. re-air, CBS says its evening newscast brought in a gross audience of 6.855 million total viewers and 1.31 million A25-54 viewers. As of now, Nielsen does not take that 4 a.m. re-air into account in its reporting.
CBS Evening News’ ratings are comprised of telecasts with regular titling and include overnight airings on owned stations.
Compared to the same week in 2019, Evening News was +13% in Total Viewers and +1% in the key demo. Versus the prior week in 2020, the broadcast was -2% in Total Viewers, but unlike ABC and NBC, the newscast was up in the demo from the prior week (+1%).
Viewership for the evening newscasts is still strong compared to this point last year. However, we’ve been seeing a steady week-to-week decline ever since the stay-at-home order was instituted in mid-March.
What’s happening? Perhaps interest in news concerning Covid-19 is waning? The weather is getting warmer, and people want to go for a walk at 6:30 p.m.? After all, some states are loosening their restrictions. Probably a mix of everything.
*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 4:
|• Total Viewers:||10,227,000||8,950,000||6,392,000|
Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54 Live + SD Current Week (w/o 5/4/20), Previous Week (w/o 4/27/20) and Year-Ago Week (w/o 5/6/19). Most Current: 2019-2020 Season (9/23/19-5/10/20) and 2018-2019 Season (9/24/18-5/12/19). 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 5/4/20 based on Total Day.
NBC Nightly News, World News Tonight and CBS Evening News’ ratings are comprised of telecasts with regular titling and include overnight airings on owned stations.