Week of Nov. 9 Evening News Ratings: All 3 Evening Newscasts Have Most-Watched Week Since May

By A.J. Katz 

Anchored by David Muir, ABC’s evening newscast World News Tonight not only maintained its top spot in the evening news landscape this past week, but it also posted growth in total viewers from election week (9.9 million), delivering its most-watched week in 6 months – since week of May 11.

World News Tonight has been the No. 1 evening newscast both in total viewers and among adults 25-54 for 33 straight weeks. It has ranked No. 1 exclusively in total viewers for 103 consecutive weeks.

WNT was +5% in total viewers versus the previous week (election week – Nov. 2), but -8% among adults 25-54, as younger, more casual news viewers seemed to be less interested in the evening news without a presidential election on their minds.


Relative to the comparable week in 2019 (Nov. 11, 2019), World News Tonight was +8% in total viewers and +7% among adults 25-54. Compared to the previous post-election week (week of Nov. 14, 2016), WNT was +9% in total viewers and flat among adults 25-54.

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 8.3 million total viewers (it’s best total viewer delivery since May) , and 1.7 million adults 25-54 during the week of Nov. 9. That’s the newscast’s largest average total audience in 23 weeks.

Nightly was also the 3rd-most-watched show in all of TV last week (excluding sports & syndication).

Compared to the prior week, NBC News’ flagship program was +2% in total viewers but -9% among adults 25-54 during election week. Versus the year-ago week (Nov. 11 2019), Nightly was -1% in total viewers and -4% among adults 25-54. Lastly, relative to the previous presidential election week (w/o Nov. 14, 2016), Nightly was -7% in total viewers and -21% among adults 25-54.

First-run broadcasts of the CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell averaged 6 million total viewers (largest total audience since May), and 1.1 million adults 25-54 viewers. This means Evening News was +4% in total viewers but -2% among adults 25-54 versus the previous week; flat in total viewers but -5% among adults 25-54 versus the comparable week in 2019; the newscast was also -18% in total viewers and -28% in adults 25-54 relative to the week after the 2016 presidential election, when Scott Pelley was still anchor.

Altogether, the big three averaged a combined total of 24.1 million total viewers during post-election week 2020. That’s +4% vs. the week prior (election week), +3% vs. the year-ago week, but -3% vs. post-election week 2016.

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.

Nielsen live-plus-same-day averages for the week of Nov. 9:

• Total Viewers: 9,857,000 8,306,000 5,985,000
• A25-54: 1,945,000 1,719,000 1,110,000




Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54 and Adults 18-49 Live + SD Current Week (w/o 11/9/20), Previous Week (w/o 11/2/20) and Year-Ago Week (w/o 11/11/19).  Most Current: 2020 -2021 Season (9/21 – 11/15/19) and 2019 -2020 Season (9/23 – 11/17/19).