The debacle surrounding Brian Williams has not only cost NBC News much of its credibility, but based on the initial ratings since Williams was suspended without pay for six months, it is costing them a big chunk of their viewers.
According to Nielsen’s fast national data, viewership fell dramatically for the NBC Nightly News in the first week with Williams off the air.
Last Monday, Nightly News averaged 9.8 million total viewers, but by Thursday that had fallen to 8.6 million, a drop of more than 12 percent in just 3 days.
The main beneficiary of the tumult at NBC is ABC’s World News Tonight, anchored by David Muir. WNT beat Nightly News by 347,000 viewers on Wednesday, which was a huge difference from the previous week when WNT trailed them by 400,000 viewers.
NBC News has replaced Williams with Lester Holt for the time being, but he is facing the difficult task of not only replacing the top evening news anchor in America, but trying to restore the division’s credibility as more stories emerge about Williams’ long history of lying on the air.
In time, Holt may be able to regain some of the viewers lost during this debacle, since Americans tend to be creatures of habit in their television viewing. But restoring NBC News’ credibility will be a much longer process and can only truly occur if they fire everyone who enabled Williams to get away with lying for so long.