Week of Oct. 25 Evening News Ratings: World News Tonight Remains No. 1; NBC, CBS Post Week-to-Week Audience Growth

By A.J. Katz 

Live-plus-same-day Nielsen data for the week of Oct. 25, 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 (8.12 million) but also among adults 25-54 (1.455 million) for the sixth week of the 2021-’22 TV season.

World News Tonight’s 8.12 million average made it the most-watched show on all of TV last week, excluding sports and syndication, of course.

ABC’s evening newscast has defeated both NBC and CBS competition each of the last 153 weeks in average total viewers—and 81 of the last 83 weeks among adults 25-54. World News Tonight grew its average total audience by +3% and its adults 25-54 audience by +7% from the previous week. A solid result, its largest average total audience in eight weeks. However, compared with the same week in 2020. World News Tonight is -12% in average total audience and -18% among adults 25-54.


The week of Oct. 26, 2020 was the final week before the presidential election, so the year-over-year viewership decline makes sense, particularly when it comes to younger demos, who are more likely to watch the evening news during (or right before/after) a major news event, as opposed to during a quieter news environment.

Second-place NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt also averaged its largest total audience in eight weeks (7 million total viewers per original broadcast), and 1.18 million adults 25-54. Nightly News grew +4% in average total viewers, and improved less than +1% in the key demo relative to the prior week. It was able to gain a bit of ground on its ABC competition in total viewers, but continues to lose traction among adults 25-54.  Compared with the same week in 2020 (which was quite a news-heavy one), Nightly News loses -10% in average total viewers and nearly one-quarter of its A25-54 audience (-24%). Additionally, on YouTube, full weekday episodes of Nightly News averaged 650,000 views and 540,000 viewers.

CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell averaged 5.23 million total viewers, which is +7% from previous week, and 862,000 adults 25-54, which is actually -4% from the prior week. Similar to ABC and NBC, CBS saw year-over-year losses in average total viewers (-6%), and year-over-year decline among adults 25-54 (-15%), although its decline was less severe than anything ABC or NBC experienced.

Nielsen live-plus-same-day averages for the week of Oct. 25:

• Total Viewers: 8,116,000 6,985,000 5,230,000
• A25-54: 1,455,000 1,178,000 862,000



Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54. Live + SD Current Week (w/o 10/25/21), Previous Week (w/o 10/18/21) and Year-Ago Week (w/o 10/26/20). Most Current: 2021 -2022 Season (9/20 – 10/31/21) and 2020 -2021 Season (9/21 – 11/1/20). Beginning 8/31/20, national ratings also include Out of Home (OOH) viewing. Averages based on regular telecasts.