World News Tonight Wraps Up February With Another Dominant Ratings Victory

By A.J. Katz 

Another week, another win for ABC World News Tonight in the ratings department

For the week of Feb. 24, the David Muir-anchored newscast averaged 9.1 million Total Viewers and nearly 1.8 million Adults 25-54, per data from Nielsen. That’s +1.24 million Total Viewers, and +206,000 Adults 25-54 more than its NBC rival. It’s the 2nd-largest margin of victory of the season.

World News Tonight beat NBC Nightly News in both of the aforementioned measures for the 11th consecutive week. World News Tonight has been No. 1 in Total Viewers all 23 weeks of the broadcast season to-date, and No. 1 in Total Viewers for the last 66 weeks overall.


World News Tonight is nearly doubling its lead over NBC Nightly News from last season (+94% – 894,000 vs. 462,000) to its largest season lead in 24 years—since the 1995-1996 season. ABC’s evening newscast is also beating CBS Evening News by an average of +3.2 million, its biggest Total Viewer season advantage in at least 28 years.

NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt remained No. 2 among the evening newscasts in all relevant measurements. It was the No. 9 program across all of TV for the week of Feb. 17, excluding sports and syndication. Also, Season to date, Nightly’s total viewer advantage vs. CBS is +2% vs. last season and the best in 6 seasons.

CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell remained No. 3 in the evening newscast hierarchy in all audience measurements.

Due to the highly-rated CBS Democratic Debate on Tuesday, ratings for that night’s edition of the CBS Evening News are excluded from the daily and weekly averages. The network also decided to exclude Friday’s telecast from the weekly average, meaning CBS Evening News averages are based on only 3 days this week. ABC and NBC weekly averages are based on the usual 5 days.

Compared with the same week in 2019, the evening newscasts once again shed viewers. World News Tonight was -10% in the A25-54 demo vs. the comparable week last year, while Nightly News was -14% and Evening News was -4%. In Total Viewers, WNT was -3%, Nightly was -8% and Evening News was -6%.

Evening News Ratings for the Week of Feb. 24

• Total Viewers: 9,108,000 7,823,000 5,984,000
• A25-54: 1,777,000 1,634,000 1,187,000




Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54 Live + SD Current Week (w/o 2/24/20), and Year-Ago Week (w/o 2/25/19). Most Current: 2019-2020 Season (9/23/19-3/1/20) and 2018-2019 Season (9/24/18-3/2/19). Ratings are comprised of telecasts with regular titling and include overnight airings on owned stations. World News Tonight’s ratings also include 3:30 p.m. airings in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

ABC not only dominated the week, it dominated February sweeps as a whole. In fact, World News Tonight averaged more Total Viewers (9.2 million) than NBC and CBS for the 4th consecutive February sweep and the 14th consecutive sweep overall. In Adults 25-54, ABC won back-to-back February sweeps for the first time in 12 years, and won the demo for the 5th consecutive sweeps period overall (since February 2019).  

In addition, the ABC evening newscast posted its biggest A25-54 demo victory during February in 13 years and its largest during any sweep in over 12 years – since February 2007 and July 2007, respectively.

Compared to Feb. 2019 sweeps, the evening news numbers were less than stellar; particularly among Adults 25-54. World News Tonight was -3% in Total Viewers and -11% in A25-54 viewers. NBC Nightly News was -9% in Total Viewers and -17% in A25-54 viewers. CBS Evening News was -11% in Total Viewers and -19% in A25-54 viewers.

Evening News Ratings for Feb. 2020 Sweeps:

• Total Viewers: 9,200,000 8,005,000 5,927,000
• A25-54: 1,810,000 1,683,000 1,124,000




Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54 and Adults 18-49. Sweeps based on Live+7/Most Current:  February 2020 Sweep (1/30 – 2/26/20), February 2019 Sweep (1/31 – 2/27/19) and November 2019 Sweep (10/31 – 11/27/19).   Sweep periods (November, February, May and July).  NOTE: Due to the digital transition, the 2009 February sweep was 3/5 – 4/1/09 Averages based on regular telecasts.