What Difference Do ‘Nightly News’ Re-Airs Make? About 70,000 Viewers

By Chris Ariens 

Earlier this week, Politico revealed that, since the week of Feb. 2Brian Williams‘s last before his suspension — “NBC Nightly News” has been re-airing in 10 cities, representing about 12% of the nation. The ratings from those overnight broadcasts factor into the final weekly viewership average.

While the strategy doesn’t break any Nielsen rules, we wondered what those re-broadcasts, airing between 2am and 4am, meant to the final numbers. Nielsen doesn’t break out the data, but reliable TV news insiders figure it added about 70,000 viewers for the week of March 9.

“Nightly” held an 11,000 total viewer lead on ABC’s “World News Tonight” for that week. That means, without the overnight re-airs, “World News Tonight” would likely have come in first, which it hasn’t since the week of Sept. 7, 2009.

It’s also worth noting that NBC hasn’t mentioned the extra airings in their weekly press release. They don’t need to, but considering the troubles with Brian Williams began with honesty, you’d think NBC would go the extra mile to be transparent about such things.