Week of Oct. 18 Evening News Ratings: World News Tonight Marks 152 Straight Weeks at No. 1, While NBC Nightly News Posts Week-to-Week Gains

By A.J. Katz 

Live-plus-same-day Nielsen data for the week of Oct. 18, 2021 is in, and ABC World News Tonight with David Muir finished as the No. 1 newscast for the week, not just in average total viewers (7.88 million) but also among adults 25-54 (1.36 million) for the fifth week of the 2021-’22 TV season.

World News Tonight was also the second-most-watched TV show for the second consecutive week (excluding sports and syndication).

ABC’s evening newscast has won the last 152 weeks in average total viewers, and 80 of the last 82 weeks among adults 25-54. It held relatively steady from the previous week (less than -1% in both total viewers and among adults 25-54), and increased its week-to-week margins with NBC Nightly News in the key A25-54 demo (+5%). However, compared with the same week in 2020, World News Tonight lost -9% of its average total audience and shed -17% of its A25-54 audience.


Second-place NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt averaged 6.72 million total viewers, and 1.17 million adults 25-54 this past week. Nightly News gained a bit of ground on its ABC competition in total viewers (and was +2% year-over-year), but shed -1% of its A25-54 audience from the previous week. Compared with the same week in 2020, Nightly News fell by -10% in average total viewers and lost nearly one-fifth of its A25-54 audience (-18%).

Additionally, on YouTube, full weekday episodes of Nightly News averaged 652,000 views and 533,000 viewers, with the typical viewer watching more than 12 minutes of the newscast on average.

CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell averaged 4.87 million total viewers, which is -1% from previous week, and 894,000 adults 25-54, also -1% from the prior week. Similar to ABC and NBC, CBS saw year-over-year losses in average total viewers (-9%). The newscast also saw year-over-year decline among adults 25-54 (-6%), although its decline was far less severe than anything ABC or NBC experienced.

Nielsen live-plus-same-day averages for the week of Oct. 18:

• Total Viewers: 7,882,000 6,722,000 4,868,000
• A25-54: 1,358,000 1,174,000 894,000




Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54. Live + SD Current Week (w/o 10/18/21), Previous Week (w/o 10/11/21) and Year-Ago Week (w/o 10/19/20). Most Current: 2021-2022 Season (9/20 – 10/24/21) and 2020-2021 Season (9/21 – 10/25/20). 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.