Week of Nov. 23 Evening News Ratings: World News Tonight Remains No. 1 Amid a Holiday-Shortened Week

By A.J. Katz 

New week, same story: ABC World News  Tonight with David Muir was No. 1 in the evening news landscape last week—the week of Nov. 23—both in total viewers (9.6 million) and among adults 25-54 (1.9 million). That’s now 35 straight consecutive weekly wins for ABC’s evening newscast in the aforementioned measurements, and No. 1 for 105 consecutive weeks exclusively in total viewers.

World News Tonight held flat in total viewers vs. the prior week, but posted +5% growth among adults 25-54.

Relative to the same week in 2019. (Nov. 25, 2019), World News Tonight ratings remain strong. The broadcast finished +4% in total viewers, and +5% among adults 25-54.


Last week’s ratings come with a caveat, which we’ll get to later.

Season to date, World News Tonight ranks No. 1 both in total viewers and adults 25-54 at this point of the season for the second consecutive year, based on the most current data from Nielsen.

NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt averaged 8.75 million total viewers, and 1.7 million adults 25-54 during the week of Nov. 23.

The 8.75 million represents the broadcast’s best total viewer delivery in 28 weeks (since week of May 11). Nightly made things interesting last week, closing the gap with WNT to its smallest margin since the week of March 16 (8.75 million vs. 9.6 million).

Compared to the prior week, NBC News’ flagship program was +6% in total viewers but flat among adults 25-54. However, versus the year-ago week (Nov. 25 2019), Nightly saw ratings losses. The broadcast was -3% in total viewers and -9% among adults 25-54.

First-run broadcasts of the CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell averaged 6.25 million total viewers,  and 1.2 million adults 25-54 viewers. A robust audience for the broadcast, +5% in total viewers and +7% among adults 25-54 vs. the prior week. And versus the comparable week in 2019, Evening News was +4% in total viewers, but flat among adults 25-54.

Altogether, the big three averaged a combined total of 24.6 million viewers last week. That’s +3% vs. the week prior, and +1% vs. the year-ago week.

It’s worth keeping in mind that all three newscasts re-titled and removed Nielsen’s ratings for certain nights from their weekly ratings averages. For instance, Nightly News was rated on a 3-day average (Monday, Tuesday & Friday), while World News Tonight and CBS Evening News were rated based on a 2-day average (Monday, Tuesday) because the networks figured audiences would be minimal for much of the week due to the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday. ABC removed ratings for Friday’s broadcast of World News Tonight due to the Notre Dame-North Carolina college football game running long.

Point being, take the aforementioned trends with a grain of salt.

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. They reflect the addition of out of home (OOH) viewership that began being measured on Aug. 31 across 44 markets tracked by Nielsen.

Below, the live-plus-same-day averages for the week of Nov. 23:

• Total Viewers: 9,615,000 8,754,000 6,251,000
• A25-54: 1,888,000 1,683,000 1,182,000




Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54 and Adults 18-49 Live + SD Current Week (w/o 11/23/20), Previous Week (w/o 11/16/20) and Year-Ago Week (w/o 11/25/19).  Most Current: 2020 -2021 Season (9/21-11/29/19) and 2019-2020 Season (9/23-12/1/19).