NBC News and ABC News duked it out today, each claiming its newscast had won the second quarter in the news demo. It all started when ABC boasted early today that the second quarter was the last full quarter in which Diane Sawyer will be its anchor — and she won! It was ABC World News’ first quarterly demo win in more than six years, a great way for Sawyer to bow out. Sawyer announced recently she’s stepping down as anchor of the newscast; David Muir is taking her place on the evening newscast, George Stephanopoulos has been named ABC News’ Chief Anchor.
Not so fast, responded NBC News — or words to that effect. Brian Williams‘ NBC Nightly News won the quarter in overall audience and in the news demo, the division claimed. Williams clocked 1.951 million viewers in the 25-54 news bracket, to Sawyer’s average of 1.942 million demo viewers.
ABC maintains Di snagged an average of 1.98 million demo viewers, and Brian Williams logged 1.964 million.
NBC News insists weekly evening newscast ratings are “always based” on Live+Same Day numbers, as are quarterly and sweep averages. That is to say the statistic represents those who watched the newscast as it was broadcast or later that day.
ABC has based its claims on “most current” ratings — a blend of Live+7, in this case through June 15, and Live+Same day for the remaining two weeks in the quarter. Live+7 accounts for viewers watching a newscast the day it’s broadcast or up to seven days after via DVR. ABC says it has been tracking evening news numbers in this manner since at least late ’05.