Week of Nov. 29 Evening News Ratings: World News Tonight Regains Its Status as the Most-Watched Newscast

By A.J. Katz 

ABC World News Tonight with David Muir rebounded from its second place finish in total viewers last week, and regained its status as the most-watched evening newscast during the week of Nov. 29. The newscast also remains No. 1 among adults 25-54, a title it didn’t relinquish last week.

By winning the week of Nov. 29, ABC’s evening newscast has defeated both NBC and CBS competition each of the last 157 of the past 158 weeks in average total viewers, and 86 of the last 88 weeks among adults 25-54.

According to live-plus-same-day data from Nielsen, World News Tonight averaged 8.36 million total viewers, and 1.59 million adults 25-54 during the week of Nov. 29. That’s less than -1% in total viewers, but a gain of +8% in adults 25-54 from the prior (Thanksgiving-shortened) week. Additionally, compared with the same week in 2020, World News Tonight was down by -16% in average total audience and -15% among adults 25-54.


The Friday Dec. 3 edition of World News Tonight was retitled and removed from the weekly and season averages due to ABC’s broadcast of the Pac-12 championship game. As a result, World News Tonight’s weekly ratings averages are based on four days (Monday-Thursday).

NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt averaged 7.36 million total viewers and 1.27 adults 25-54 during the week of Nov. 29, making it the third-most-watched TV show last week (excluding sports and syndication). The 7.36 million average total viewers is -14% from the prior week, while the 1.27 million adults 25-54 average is -13% from the prior week. The previous week (Nov. 22) was a significant one for Nightly News. It finished the Thanksgiving-shortened week as the most-watched evening newscast for the first time in roughly three years, averaging 8.58 million total viewers.

Compared with the same week in 2020, Nightly News fell by -11% in average total viewers, and was down by -21% among adults 25-54.

On YouTube, full weekday episodes of Nightly News averaged 533,000 views and nearly 500,000 viewers this past week. That’s according to Adobe Analytics Portal data.

When it comes to Total Viewers, NBC Nightly News has closed the gap with World News Tonight some in recent months. However, that gap, season-to-date, remains substantial, and ABC continues to hold a commanding lead in the A25-54 demo.

Let’s not forget about the CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell, which averaged 5.23 million total viewers during the week of Nov. 29. That number is -2% from previous week. The newscast also averaged 875,000 adults 25-54, which is -7% from the prior week. O’Donnell was out multiple days last week, which may have contributed to the decline a bit. Additionally, similar to ABC and NBC, CBS saw year-over-year losses in average total viewers (-18%) and among adults 25-54 (-26%).

Nielsen live-plus-same-day averages for the week of Nov. 29, 2021:

• Total Viewers: 8,361,000 7,363,000 5,229,000
• A25-54: 1,594,000 1,273,000 875,000




Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54. Live + SD Current Week (w/o 11/29/21), Previous Week (w/o 11/22/21) and Year-Ago Week (w/o 11/30/20). Most Current: 2021-2022 Season (9/20 – 12/5/21) and 2020-2021 Season (9/21 – 12/6/20). Nielsen ratings for ABC, NBC and CBS include additional airings in select markets. Beginning 8/31/20, national ratings also include Out of Home (OOH) viewing. Averages based on regular telecasts.