World News Tonight Wins Full Season For First Time Since Peter Jennings Was Anchor

By Chris Ariens 

ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir was the most-watched network evening newscast for the just-concluded 2016-2017 TV season.

This is the first time in 21 seasons–the last was when Peter Jennings was anchor–that ABC has had the No. 1 evening news show. ABC topped NBC by +1 percent in total viewers.

NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt wins the season in the A25-54 demo.  In fact, all four of NBC’s news shows (Today, Nightly News, Meet the Press and Dateline) finished first among their competitors in the younger demo this season. NBC’s lead on ABC was +11 percent in that ad-friendly demo for the season.


Compared to the 2015-2016 season World News Tonight is flat in total viewers while both NBC and CBS are down. Nightly News is down -5 percent and CBS Evening News is down -6 percent. Among the 25-54 demo, all three newscasts lost viewers vs. last season which was heavily on presidential primary and general election coverage. ABC was down -6 percent, NBC down -7 percent and CBS down -11 percent.

Muir, who is the youngest though most senior evening news anchor, has closed a 1 million viewer gap with Nightly News since he took over the show in 2014.

For the week of Sept. 18, ABC won the week with a +9 percent lead on Nightly News, while NBC won the demo with a +5 lead on ABC.

Click below for the averages for the previous seven seasons:

2015-2016 | 2014-2015 |2013-2014 | 2012-2013 | 2011-2012 | 2010-2011 | 2009-2010 

Numbers for 2016-2017 season:

• Total Viewers: 8,205,000 8,301,000 6,578,000
• A25-54: 1,949,000 1,760,000 1,448,000

Numbers for 3rd Quarter, 2017:

• Total Viewers: 7,643,000 7,966,000 5,902,000
• A25-54: 1,771,000 1,656,000 1,267,000

Numbers for the week of Sept. 18, 2017:

• Total Viewers: 7,782,000 8,468,000 6,019,000
• A25-54: 1,856,000 1,764,000 1,262,000