In its ratings report celebrating last week’s numbers, ABC News addressed NBC News’ decision to re-title NBC Nightly News in order to keep last week’s numbers off its books.
“Re-titling move comes amid razor-thin race – World News Tonight is No. 1 for the first time in 21 years, season to date,” ABC boasted.
ABC’s World News Tonight With David Muir was the country’s most watched newscast for the week (7.907M viewers), which, ABC noted gleefully, beat spelling-challenged NBC Nitely News (7.207M) by 700K total viewers. That is ABC’s largest victory over Nightly/Nitely since same week one year ago. That boast also serves to explain why NBC News made the call to rename Holt’s program. (CBS Evening News clocked 5.885M total viewers.)
During the week, all five telecasts of NBC Nightly News were re-titled NBC Nitely News – including that network’s Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday telecasts, despite airing at 93% coverage across the country. ABC snarked that NBC pulled this ratings rannygazoo “for one of the biggest news weeks of the year, which included former FBI Director James Comey releasing his prepared remarks and details from his memos to Congress and the American people.”
On these three days, NBC’s newscast also averaged 1.680M adults 25-54 , ABC said.
Muir’s newscast logged 1.647M viewers in that so-called news demo, and CBS clocked 1.190M.
Renaming is standard operating procedure for getting numbers off Nielsen’s books for a program. ABC News for instance, renames Muir’s program ABC WRLD NEWS TNT, while CBS retitles its newscast “CBS-EVENING-NEWS.”
NBC had been expected to re-title its two NHL nights, Wednesday and Friday; ABC was expected to re-title its two NBA nights: Wednesday and Friday. But, as ABC noted Tuesday morning, NBC went all in, re-titling Wednesday and Friday too, as well as Tuesday, for a full week of Nitely.
Season to date, World News Tonight ranks No. 1 in total viewers for the first time at this point of the season in 21 years.
Because NBC News renamed Nightly, Muir’s newscast leads Nightly by 12,000 viewers. Had NBC not renamed Nightly last week, Muir would be leading Nightly by 33,000 viewers.