Week of November 20 Evening News Ratings: World News Tonight Holds Onto First Place Despite Nightly News’ Gains

By A.J. Katz 

ABC World News Tonight with David Muir remains No. 1 in the evening news ratings race, but the newscast’s grip on the top spot is becoming tenuous.

Per live plus same day data from Nielsen, World News Tonight averaged 8.18 million total viewers and 1.125 million A25-54 viewers for the Thanksgiving holiday-shortened week of Nov. 20. The show’s 8.18 million viewer average for the week is +3% from the previous week (a non-holiday week, of course); while its 1.125 million A25-54 average is also +3% from the week prior. When compared with Thanksgiving week 2022, however, ABC’s evening newscast is -6% in total viewers and -27% in A25-54 viewers, as the program continues its troubling trend of losing viewers under 55 on an annual basis.

Holiday weeks are always strange times for the network newscasts, especially when considering Nielsen ratings. ABC News only rated World News Tonight’s Tuesday, Nov. 21 broadcast last week, excluding four other days. The Monday, Nov. 20 broadcast of World News Tonight was retitled due to Monday Night Football, the newscast was preempted on Friday, Nov. 25 for primetime college football, and the Wednesday and Thursday broadcasts were coded as specials due to the Thanksgiving holiday.


Still, World News Tonight has averaged more total viewers than NBC and CBS 260 of the last 261 weeks, and more adults 25-54 189 of the last 191 weeks.

NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt continues to gain ground on its ABC rival. The newscast averaged 1.09 million A25-54 viewers this past week, which is +7% from the week prior, and only -32,000 fewer than World News Tonight. NBC Nightly News averaged nearly 7.65 million total viewers for the week, a solid +12% gain from the week prior and the newscast’s largest average weekly audience since January.

The Friday, Nov. 24 edition of Nightly News averaged 8.89 million total viewers, the largest audience of any regularly-scheduled non-sports show this past week. It is worth noting that ABC and CBS preempted their respective evening newscasts for college football.

Nightly News’ week of Nov. 20 ratings averages are based on three days — Monday, Tuesday and Friday. Wednesday and Thursday excluded due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

Despite the continuing week-to-week gains, Nightly News remains down from its 2022 performance. This past week, the newscast shed -8% in total viewers and -20% in A25-54 viewers relative to Thanksgiving week 2022.

Additionally, according to data from Adobe Analytics and Partner Portals—and the YouTube Analytics Portal, full weekday episodes of NBC Nightly News earned an average of  572,000 total views and 500,000 viewers this past week.

Changing channels, The CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell averaged nearly five million total viewers and 686,000 Adults 25-54 for the week of Nov. 20. That’s +3% and +3%, respectively, from the week before. However, CBS Evening News saw a -5% decline in total viewers and a -16% decline in A25-54 viewers from the year-ago week.

CBS News only counted the Monday and Tuesday broadcasts of The CBS Evening News. Wednesday and Thursday were coded as specials due to the Thanksgiving holiday, and Evening News was preempted on Friday for primetime college football.

Nielsen live-plus-same-day averages for the week of Nov. 20, 2023:

• Total Viewers: 8,177,000 7,648,000 4,955,000
• A25-54: 1,125,000 1,093,000 686,000

Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54 Live + SD Current Week (w/o 11/20/23), Previous Week (w/o 11/13/23) and Year-Ago Week (w/o 11/14/22). Most Current Data Stream: 2022-2023 Season (9/25 – 11/26/22) and 2022-2023 Season (9/19 – 11/20/22). 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.