Sighs of relief from the direction of 30 Rock: NBC Nightly News Minus Brian Williams posted week-to-week gains in total viewers (up 7%, translating to 673,000 viewers), the news demo (11%, or 262,000 viewers), and among 18-49 year olds (up 9%, or 147,000 viewers) the week of February 16.
Sure, CBS and ABC evening newscasts also were up, across the board, week to week. But ABC and CBS newscasts didn’t have to pull their anchors while the network investigates disputed claims he’s made over the years. The NBC broadcast, ably anchored by Lester Holt since NBC News suspended Williams for just that, averaged more than 10 million viewers for the fourth time this season. In fact, Nightly is the only evening news program to surpass 10 million viewers during a broadcast week in the past eight years.
That said, ABC News’ World News Tonight With David Muir ranked as the No. 1 evening newscast in the all-important news demo (2.571 million) during the week, based on Live+Same Day Data from Nielsen Media Research. This is not, however, a Williams-is-suspended thing; season to date, World News Tonight has nabbed the top spot in the key demo for the 10th time this season—its most number of wins at this point of a season in 18 years—since the 1996-97 season.
NBC Nightly News, marking Holt’s second full week anchoring, was America’s most-watched evening newscast for the week, upping its lead over ABC by 5%, week to week, and bringing its streak of total-viewer wins to 283 consecutive weeks. Nightly also ruled in the younger demo.
Season-to-date, Nightly still is in first place with overall audience, in the news demo, and in the younger demo. In the news demo, it is leading ABC by just 36,000 viewers, while besting ABC in the younger demo by 143,000 viewers and in overall audience by 577,000.