- Accuracy in Media - https://www.aim.org -

ABC’s World News Tonight Ends NBC Nightly News’ Reign at No. 1

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ABC’s World News Tonight topped NBC’s Nightly News in the latest ratings, snapping the Peacock network’s 288 week win streak as the number one evening news broadcast.

WNT won in both total viewers with 7.997 million to Nightly News’ 7.913 million, and in the 18-49 demo by a margin of 1.952 million to 1.791 million, making it a complete victory.

Nightly News had been able to hold on to the number one slot, thanks in part to their recent decision to rebroadcast the program in the early morning hours in select markets and add those viewers to its total numbers for ratings purposes. But that strategy unraveled after media buyers told NBC not to air their clients’ ads during the rebroadcasts. Without those national ads, Nielsen won’t measure the audience, depriving NBC of an opportunity to inflate the real numbers.

Despite NBC News’ efforts to spin the post-Brian Williams results in a positive way, the facts are that this was NBC’s lowest first quarter in the news demo since Nielsen began tracking it in 1991 and the lowest total viewers since 2013. Season to date, NBC does lead ABC by 520,000 total viewers, but is barely hanging on to the demo lead with an advantage of just 29,000 viewers per week. The momentum at this time is clearly with ABC.

The fall of NBC Nightly News from number one caps a bad three-year stretch for NBC News, which has seen both the Today show and Meet the Press lose their grip on the top slot in their respective time periods. It also poses big challenges for new NBC News chairman Andy Lack as he tries to figure out how to get the division back on track.