ABC News’ ‘World News Tonight’ Tops In First Week Of 2020-21 Season

By Denise Petski, Ted Johnson

David Muir ABC World News Tonight Tv anchor
David Muir hosting ABC's 'World News Tonight' ABC

ABC News’ World News Tonight with David Muir topped its broadcast rivals in the first week of the new season.

The newscast drew 8.5 million viewers, compared with 7.33 million for NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt and 5.15 million for CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell.

In the 25-54 demo, World News Tonight had 1.67 million viewers, to 1.48 million for NBC Nightly News and 930,000 for CBS Evening News. In the 18-49 demo, ABC had 1.1 million, to 993,000 for NBC and 672,000 for CBS.

The figures, released by ABC News, are from Nielsen and are for Live+Same Day viewing. ABC News said that its total viewer audience was up 7% from the same week a year ago and that it was its largest overall audience for the first week of the season in 15 years. The numbers are for the week of Sept. 21.

All of the evening newscasts have seen ratings upticks since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Although they get a fraction of the attention as cable news primetime, the traditional newscasts outpace them in viewership.

CBS said that CBS Evening News was up 2% in total viewers and 3% among adults 25-54 based on gross audience reach.

The numbers exclude World News Tonight on Monday and NBC Nightly News on Friday because of sports. On that Monday, ABC’s Monday Night Football pre-empted World News Tonight on the West Coast, and NBC’s broadcast of Game 1 of the NHL’s Stanley Cup Final pre-empted Nightly News in the time zone.

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