NBC’s Nightly News with Brian Williams has been America’s go-to evening news broadcast for quite a while now. In late June of this year, Nightly News topped ABC’s World News in viewers for the 249th consecutive week. Both networks left CBS’s Evening News with Scott Pelley in the dust at a distant third.
But Tuesday’s announcement that ABC’s World News has been #1 in the demo for the last three weeks should be alarming for NBC News. Here’s why:
1. Friday’s coverage, anchored by breaking news coming out of Gaza and Ukraine, pushed Word News to #1 in total viewers, aged 18-49 and aged 25-54 for the night. That was the largest single-day advantage over Nightly News telecast in more than five years.
2. World News is the only broadcast up from last year in total viewers, aged 18-49 and aged 25-54.
3.. Although it is up 1% in total viewers from last year, NBC’s Nighty News is down 6% in the all-important demo of people aged 25-54.
4.World News has been #1 in the demo for the last three weeks.
5. David Muir, who will be taking over World News from Diane Sawyer in September, has anchored two of those three weeks — including a head-to-head matchup with NBC’s Williams on that breaking news filled Friday.
That last one must be the most worrying for NBC. Losing a television legend like Sawyer as your main competition should be something NBC could easily capitalize on, but so far, ABC’s measured transition from Sawyer to Muir is working better than both networks could have possibly imagined.
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