Week of Oct. 19 Evening News Ratings: World News Tonight Marks 100 Consecutive Weeks as Most-Watched Evening Newscast

By A.J. Katz 

ABC World News Tonight With David Muir was the top evening newscast for the week of Oct. 19, 2020, both in total viewers (8.7 million) and among adults 25-54 (1.6 million). That’s now 30 straight weeks at No. 1, ahead of its NBC and CBS competition in those two particular measurements, and 100 consecutive weeks at No. 1 in total viewers only.

Relative to the previous week (Oct. 12), WNT finished +1% in total viewers but -2% among adults 25-54. Relative to the comparable week in 2019 (Oct. 21, 2019), World News Tonight was +6% in total viewers but flat among adults 25-54. Lastly, relative to the comparable week in the most recent election year (week of Oct. 24, 2016), WNT was +6% in total viewers but -9% 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 7.4 million total viewers and 1.4 million adults 25-54 during the week of Oct. 19, second among the evening newscasts. Compared to the prior week, NBC News’ flagship program was flat in total viewers but -2% among adults 25-54. Versus the year-ago week (Oct. 21 2019), Nightly was -4% in total viewers and -12% among adults 25-54. Lastly, relative to the comparable week in the previous election year (w/o Oct. 24, 2016), Nightly was -9% in total viewers and -27% among adults 25-54.

For the week of Oct. 19, first-run broadcasts of the CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell averaged 5.4 million total viewers and 988,000 adults 25-54 viewers. This means Evening News was +5% in total viewers and +7% among adults 25-54 versus the previous week, +2% in total viewers and flat among adults 25-54 versus the comparable week in 2019. However, the newscast was -21% in total viewers and a whopping -40% among adults 25-54 relative to the same week in 2016, when Scott Pelley was anchor.

Older Americans are still checking out the evening news in 2020, while adults under 55 aren’t quite as interested in the evening news as they were in 2016. They seem to be turning to cable with more frequency.

Due to the final presidential debate on Thursday (Oct. 22), all three evening newscasts’ weekly ratings averages are based on four days (Mon.-Wed. and Fri.).

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 Oct. 19:

ABC NBC CBS
• Total Viewers: 8,699,000 7,430,000 5,372,000
• A25-54: 1,631,000 1,431,000 947,000

 

 

 

Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54  Live + SD Current Week (w/o 10/19/20), Previous Week (w/o 10/12/20) and Year-Ago Week (w/o 10/21/19).  Most Current: 2020 -2021 Season (9/21 – 10/25/19) and 2019 -2020 Season (9/23 – 10/27/19). 

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