World News Tonight Wins May Sweep in Demo for First Time in 8 Years

By Chris Ariens 

For the first time in 8 years ABC has won the May sweeps evening news race in the A25-54 demo, the audience most valuable to advertisers. But all three broadcasts lost viewers in that demo compared to May 2014. (ABC had claimed victory in May 2014, but flawed Nielsen numbers not realized until October, wiped out that win.) World News Tonight with David Muir also topped Nightly News with Brian Williams in November. That was an 18-year first.

NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, in for the suspended Williams since February, held on to win May sweeps, but by just +35,000 total viewers or less than .5 percent. Last year NBC led ABC by 1.029 million total viewers. It’s Nightly’s 31st consecutive sweeps win.

Compared to last May, NBC is down the most in the demo, -10 percent, while ABC and the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley are each down -6 percent. Among total viewers, NBC is down -8 percent, ABC is up +3 percent and CBS is up +2 percent.

Nightly News also won the week of May 18 in both viewers and the demo and continues to lead the three evening newscasts season-to-date. Compared to the same week last year, only CBS Evening News saw growth in the demo (+7 percent) and is in its closest position to Nightly News in viewers in 9 years.

Numbers for the week of May Sweeps, 2015:

• Total Viewers: 7,723,000 7,686,000 6,643,000
• A25-54: 1,766,000 1,826,000 1,471,000

Numbers for the week of May 18, 2015:

• Total Viewers: 7,594,000 7,541,000 6,898,000
• A25-54: 1,758,000 1,747,000 1,540,000