For the third consecutive week, Lester Holt has put “NBC Nightly News” on top in the evening news ratings race.
The Los Angeles Times reports the victory came last week as “Nightly News” is taking a narrow 5,000 viewer lead over “ABC World News Tonight With David Muir” among the coveted viewership of 25- to 54-year-olds in the 2014-15 TV season.
For the week of July 6-10, the publication cited Nielsen data, which showed “NBC Nightly News” averaging 8.1 million viewers. The total is 9% ahead of “ABC World News Tonight” (7.5 million) and 22% ahead of “CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley” (6.7 million). Among those in the 25-54 demographic, NBC scored a 10% lead over ABC, in addition to a 30% lead over CBS.
A big reason for NBC’s good fortune is Holt, who is benefiting from having his ability and willingness to report from the field highlighted in the network’s on-air promotional campaign. With Holt officially on board as the lead anchor for “Nightly News” after filling in for Brian Williams during his five-month suspension, the shift has provided a reason for evening news viewers to take another look the program.
“NBC was able to take the cuffs off and this is what you have,” Andrew Heyward, a media consultant and former network news executive, told the Times. “Now it’s a fair fight again.”
In light of his suspension, which ends next month, Williams will end up being reassigned to cable network MSNBC, where he will anchor breaking news segments. The newsman He lost his spot on the “NBC Nightly News” anchor chair upon the discovery that he made false statements about his work reporting on the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. Prior to his dismissal, Williams sat in the anchor chair at “Nightly News” for 10 years.
Holt may be winning the weekly ratings race with “Nightly News,” but ABC News is maintaining its growth on a year-to-year with viewers for “World News.” Like “Nightly News,” “World News had its own shift in the anchor chair with Muir succeeding Diane Sawyer.
As a result, the average viewership for “World News,” which stands at 8.5 million, increased 6% over a year ago and is at its highest level in eight years, the Times notes. For “Nightly News,” it’s average of 8 million took a hit with being off 7%, compared with last season.
Regarding “CBS Evening News,” a 3% increase has resulted in 7.2 million viewers for the broadcast.
“Collectively they have stabilized a genre that had been in decline for years,” he said Heyward, who noted the unexpected development of the growth in audience for two evening broadcast newscasts amid a host of options for getting their news. “They have a tight race, and all three networks have something to brag about. You’re going to see an old-fashioned circulation war.”
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