For the first time in seven years, ABC’s World News Tonight is the top evening newscast in the news demo, season to date. The David Muir-anchored newscast is top-rated in the demo for the first five weeks of the season and is up in the age bracket every week of this season, compared to same time last year.
NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams is delivering its best start to a TV season since 2006 in overall audience, but is down both in the news demo and in the younger age bracket of 18-49- year-olds. The NBC newscast finished No. 1 for the week of October 20 in overall audience, and with the younger demo. Williams’ program has bagged the largest overall audience for 267 consecutive weeks and 314 of the past 315. NBC’s newscast logged 8.4 million viewers, besting ABC by 454,000 and the Scott Pelley-anchored CBS Evening News by 1.925 million. ABC won the news demo with an average of 2.016 million viewers aged 25-54, beating NBC by 49,000 viewers and CBS by 435,000. NBC’s 1.380 million viewers in the 18-49 demo edged out ABC by 21,000 and CBS by 305,000.
ABC’s newscast is the only one of the three to grow, year to year, in all three metrics. Andrew Tyndall, whose company monitors evening news content, has documented in various reports that ABC’s newscast is airing fewer reports on politics and foreign affairs and more on celebrities and sports — becoming “Disneyfied” as he has called it in reference to ABC’s parent company. Tyndall also has noted a lesser dilution of hard news reports on NBC’s program since Muir took over the anchor desk at ABC.