ABC News’ News from the world tonight with David Muir surpassed ratings in the first quarter, but the period also showed viewers coming back down to earth through every evening newscast.
News from the world tonight averaging 9.6 million total viewers, a decrease of 2% from 9.8 million in the first quarter a year earlier, a period marked by the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and a primary presidential campaign. NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt posted 7.97 million, down 8% from 8.7 million. CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell was at 6 million, 7% against 6.26 million. The figures are from Nielsen and were published by ABC.
In demo 25-54, World news tonight on average 1.9 million, compared to 2.02 million in the first quarter of 2020. NBC Nightly News was at 1.56 million, up from 1.96 million last year, and CBS Evening News on average 1.13 million, compared to 1.22 million.
ABC News said it was the first time in 25 years that they had surpassed the first quarter for total viewers and major demographics 25 to 54 and 18 to 49.
It was expected to decline in many ways, as the evening news reports showed a resurgence at the start of the Covid-19 crisis. The networks also ran additional news reports last year, given the extraordinary news cycles, which further increased audiences. They also increasingly point to the number of viewers on streaming platforms, given the change in viewing habits.
Comparison of the most recent first quarter figures with a less interesting period – the first quarter of 2019 – News from the world tonight increased by 3% of the total number of viewers, NBC Nightly News was down 8% and CBS Evening News was 9%. In this quarter two years ago, News from the world tonight 9.32 million viewers on average, NBC Nightly News posted 8.68 million and CBS Evening News, then anchored by Jeff Glor, had 6.58 million.