Edward Snowden was very good to NBC News. The week in which the news division aired Brian Williams’ exclusive interview with Snowden, NBC Nightly News was the country’s most-watched newscast and was tops in all key demos — including a win in the news demo, where ABC is taking over ground. Nightly beat ABC World News by 101,000 news demo viewers for the week ending May 30. For comparison sake, the previous week NBC’s newscast lost to ABC, by 106,000 viewers. NBC’s evening news has fallen behind ABC’s in the news demo five of the past eight weeks.
For the week, Nightly widened its total viewer gap over ABC by 73% compared with the previous week.
Nightly clocked its biggest crowd Tuesday night, when it unveiled the first excerpts of Williams’ exclusive Snowden interview, in advance of Wednesday’s primetime Snowden chat special. ABC noted that World News With Diane Sawyer actually outdrew NBC Nightly News by 63,000 demo viewers (2.209 million vs. 2.146 million) that night. But Nightly logged the biggest week-to-week increases in total viewers (3%, or +257,000) and A25-54 viewers (12%, or +214,000) among the broadcast evening newsasts. About half of Nightly‘s overall audience gains came in the 18-49 demo, which NBC’s newscast typically dominates and where the newscast grew week to week by 139,000 viewers. Season-to-date, Nightly is posting its biggest total-viewer audience (9.21 million) since the 2005-06 season and its largest advantage over ABC (+1.08 million) since the 2009-10 season. All three evening newscasts are based on a four-day average due to the Memorial Day holiday.