NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt won key demographics during the two weeks of the network’s Olympics coverage, while World News Tonight with David Muir continued its streak atop total viewers.
Last week, Nightly News drew 1.44 million viewers in the 25-54 demo, compared to 1.34 million for World News Tonight and 798,000 for CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell. The Holt-anchored newscast also topped in the 18-49 demo, with an average of 1.05 million, compared to 924,000 for World News Tonight and 571,000 for CBS Evening News.
The Muir-anchored newscast has been leading in the demos so far this season. Last week it also again won in total viewers, with 7.43 million, compared to 6.92 million for Nightly News and 4.79 million for CBS Evening News.
ABC and NBC both trumpeted their feats in Tuesday news releases, a mixture of raw numbers, promotional facts and in-the-weeds stats.
ABC News noted, for example, that World News Tonight’s No. 1 showing among total viewers was the first time in 29 years that it had done so during the two weeks of a Summer Olympics.
NBC News, which featured Holt anchoring from Tokyo for 16 consecutive days, focused on its demo leads. Example: “ABC’s World News Tonight by +93,000 (+7%), increasing its advantage over ABC by +86% versus the prior week. Nightly News also beats CBS Evening News by a whopping +638,000 (+80%), its biggest lead over the network in 39 weeks (since week of 11/2/2020).” In the 18-49 demo, NBC News said that Nightly News was the only program to see growth, up 3%, or 32,000 viewers.
For further Nielsen scorekeeping purposes, Holt’s newscast was retitled Nitely News because Olympics coverage preempted it in some markets. ABC News, meanwhile, noted that the retitled telecasts are excluded from NBC’s season averages.
Overall, Olympics Nielsen ratings themselves were down, significantly, from 2016.