NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt was No. 1 in total viewers and in key demos for the first week of the 2015-16 season, marking the broadcast’s 9th straight across-the-board win and 13th in the 14 weeks since Holt was named anchor. That’s good news for the program, because it also was the week of Pope Francis’ visit to the United States and the week former Nightly News anchor Brian Williams returned to the air to cover the Pope’s visit, but for MSNBC.
Williams’ MSNBC coverage of Francis’ trip did not compete head-to-head in timeslot with Holt’s Nightly News. Even so, NBC Nightly News‘ weekly numbers are based on just a three-day average, Monday to Wednesday, due to pre-emptions for Papal coverage. In that NBC is not alone; ABC’s World News Tonight With David Muir’s average also is based on the same three days. And CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley’s stats are based on a four-day average, excluding Thursday due to Papal coverage and NFL Thursday Night Football.
With that qualifier, NBC Nightly News averaged 8.3 million viewers, 2 million of them in the 25-54 news demo and 1.5M in the 18-49 demo. That’s a four-week total-viewer high and the 6th straight week the newscast has drawn more than 8 million viewers. Week-to-week, Nightly was up by 275K total viewers, 50K 25-54 viewers, and 37K 18-49 viewers.
Holt’s newscast has been No. 1 among total viewers all 14 weeks since he was named anchor.
Muir’s newscast averaged 7.9 million total viewers, 1.9 million news demo viewers and 1.3M 18-49 year olds. World News Tonight decreased its week-to-week margin with NBC’s newscast in overall crowd by 15K, by 48K in the news demo which is its closest news-demo performance in two months. CBS Evening News logged an average of 6.6M viewers, 1.4M news demo viewers, and 940K 18-49-year-olds.