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Evening News Ratings

The ‘Subliminal Message’ Behind David Muir’s Ascent to ‘World News’ Anchor

david muirCome September, three white men will anchor the three network evening newscasts. Is it 2005 — or 1975 — all over again? Some think so.

“The evening news anchors are the face of the network,” says Karen Turner, an associate professor of journalism at Temple University in Philadelphia, whose research focuses on race in the news. “In this growing multicultural nation, it’s unconscionable that as of September three white men will lead their respective networks.”

Brian Williams, 55, has been anchor of “NBC Nighty News” since 2004, he took over for Tom Brokaw who had been anchor since 1982, and John Chancellor before that. Scott Pelley, who turns 57 next month, has been at the helm of “CBS Evening News” since May, 2011. That broadcast was anchored by Katie Couric for the previous 5 years, and by Bob Schieffer, Dan Rather (briefly paired with Connie Chung) and Walter Cronkite in earlier years.

Muir, 40, takes over for Diane Sawyer who has been anchor since 2009. Sawyer came in following the retirement of Charles Gibson who, in 2006, succeeded the anchor team of Bob Woodruff and Elizabeth Vargas. The Woodfuff-Vargas pairing lasted only a few weeks following the serious injuries sustained by Woodruff in an attack in Iraq.

“Certainly Pelley, Williams and now Muir are accomplished journalists,” Turner adds. “However, the subliminal message this sends is these — white males — are the legitimate faces that should represent America.”

Evening News Ratings: Week of June 16

EveningNewsNew“NBC Nightly News with Brian Wiliams” wins the week of June 16 in both total viewers and the A25-54 demo. “Nightly News” was up +6% in viewers vs. the same week last year and is posting its biggest season-to-date audience (9.133 million) since the 2005-06 season. The NBC newscast was down -4% in the demo year-over-year.

ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer” was up +1% in viewers and up +4% in the demo and has narrowed its season margin with “Nightly News” in the demo nearly in half (-48% – 166,000 vs. 318,000) compared to its season margin from the same point last year.

The “CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley” showed the most growth of all three broadcasts, in both viewers and the demo: up +7% in viewers and up +9% in the demo compared to the same week last year.

Numbers for the week of June 16, 2014:

NBC ABC CBS
• Total Viewers: 7,992,000 6,979,000 6,044,000
• A25-54: 1,827,000 1,793,000 1,453,000

Evening News Ratings: Week of June 9

EveningNewsNew“NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams” wins the week of June 9 in both total viewers and the A25-54 demo, with its best younger viewer delivery since late April.

ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer” showed the most viewership growth compared to the same week last year (+7%), and was the only broadcast to grow in the younger demo (+11%).

“Nightly News” was up +4% in viewers and down -11% in the demo, while “CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley” was also up +4% in viewers and down -7% in the demo.

NBC’s average is based on three days (Mon.-Wed.) because of sports coverage. ABC’s average is based on three days (Mon., Wed. and Fri.) because of the NBC finals. CBS is based on five days.

Numbers for the week of June 9, 2014:

NBC ABC CBS
• Total Viewers: 8,440,000 7,265,000 6,048,000
• A25-54: 2,005,000 1,902,000 1,371,000

Evening News Ratings: Week of June 2

EveningNewsNew“NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams” wins the week in total viewers while ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer wins again in the demo. It was the sixth time in the last nine weeks that ABC’s broadcast has won among younger viewers.

Sawyer also showed the most growth of the three evening newscasts in both viewers and the A25-54 demo. Compared to the same week last year “World News” was up +7% in viewers and up +13% in the demo. “Nightly” is up +2% in viewers but down -4% in the demo. The “CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley” was up +4% in viewers but down -8% in the demo.

NBC is based on a 4-day average, with Wednesday excluded because of the NHL playoffs. ABC is also based on 4 days, with Thursday excluded due to the NBA playoffs.

Numbers for the week of June 2, 2014:

NBC ABC CBS
• Total Viewers: 7,705,000 7,471,000 5,937,000
• A25-54: 1,857,000 1,936,000 1,387,000

Evening News Ratings: Week of May 26

EveningNewsNew“NBC Nightly News Brian Williams” is back on top in the A25-54 demo after losing the month of May to ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer.” “Nightly” had its biggest advantage over “World News” in the demo since the week of March 31.

But for the week, “World News” was the only broadcast to grow that younger audience, up +5%, while “Nightly” was flat and “CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley” was down -3% compared to the same week last year.

In total viewers, Williams’ broadcast was #1 and was up +5% vs. last year. Sawyer’s broadcast grew +3% while Pelley’s “Evening News” was down -3%.

Due to the Memorial Day holiday, all the broadcast averages are based on four days, Tuesday-Friday.

Numbers for the week of May 26, 2014:

NBC ABC CBS
• Total Viewers: 8,107,000 7,299,000 6,010,000
• A25-54: 2,004,000 1,903,000 1,513,000

Barbara Walters Comes Out of Retirement to Toast Diane Sawyer

Barbara Walters dropped by her building this afternoon to make sure the rent was still being paid. Actually, she stopped by ABC News HQ to toast her friend and colleague Diane Sawyer and her “World News” team for finishing May sweeps No. 1 in the A25-54 demo. It’s the first win for “World News” in the younger demo in more than 6 years.

ABC News President James Goldston, who assembled the gathering, congratulated Sawyer as the first female evening news anchor to win a sweeps month and called the win a proud moment for Sawyer, show EP Michael Corn and everyone in the news division.

Sawyer then made some remarks, thanking Goldston and his predecessor Disney ABC TV group president Ben Sherwood, her team and all of ABC News for their dedication and hard work. She joked that she doesn’t follow the ratings closely, but that she can always tell how the show did by the look on Corn’s face every Tuesday morning when the ratings come in. After remarks from Corn, Walters appeared from the audience, and joked that she came out of retirement for the celebration. Walters was of co-anchor of “ABC Evening News” from 1976-1978.

Evening News Ratings: Week of May 19 & May Sweeps

EveningNewsNewABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer” has won its first May sweep in the younger demo in 7 years. It’s the first victory in any sweeps month in more than 6 years for “World News” — since February 2008.

ABC topped “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams” by +42,000 A25-54 viewers. Williams’s broadcast, meanwhile, won the month in total viewers with its biggest May sweep audience and widest lead over “World News” in three years.

All three broadcasts were up among total viewers with NBC and ABC up +6% and CBS up +5%. But “World News” was the only broadcast to show demo viewer growth compared to May 2013. Sawyer’s show was up +9%, while “Nightly” was down -6% and the “CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley” was down -2%. In fact, this is the lowest May sweep since at least 1991 (when the keeping of electronic records began), for both NBC and CBS in the A25-54 demo.

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For the week of May 19, “World News” wins in the demo with a +106,000 viewer lead on “Nightly News,” while “Nightly” takes total viewers with a +467,000 viewer lead on “World News.” All three newscasts were down in viewers and the demo compared to the same week last year, which saw extended coverage of that deadly tornado in Moore, OK.

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Evening News Ratings: Week of May 12

EveningNewsNewOnce again, ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer” wins the week among younger viewers. Sawyer’s newscast has now won four of the last six weeks in the A25-54 demo, topping “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams” for the weeks of April 7, 14, and 28, and now May 12. The gap averaged +83,000 viewers (+4%), but was as wide as +204,000 on Monday and as little as +14,000 viewers on Friday.

“Nightly” still topped “World News” by +830,000 total viewers (+11%), and averaged +1,908,000 (+29%) more viewers than “CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley.” “Nightly” has won 244 weeks straight in viewers.

All three broadcasts were up big compared to the same week last year. “World News” saw the biggest jump in both viewers (+14%) and the A25-45 demo (+24%). “Evening News” was up +13% in viewers and up +8% in the demo while “Nightly News” was up +12% in viewers and up +4% in the demo.

Numbers for the week of May 12, 2014:

NBC ABC CBS
• Total Viewers: 8,423,000 7,593,000 6,515,000
• A25-54: 1,987,000 2,070,000 1,648,000

Evening News Ratings: Week of May 5

EveningNewsNewThe back and forth among younger viewers for their preference in an evening newscast goes back to “Nightly News with Brian Williams.” The NBC newscast topped ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer” by +18,000 A25-54 viewers last week. Sawyer had won the younger demo two of the previous three weeks.

Only “Nightly News” showed growth in viewers compared to the same week last year, up less than 1%. “World News” and the “CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley” were each down -2%. Among younger viewers “Nightly” lost -14% of its audience, while “Evening News” was down -9% and “World News” was down the least, -3% year-over-year.

Season-to-date, “Nightly” is posting its biggest total viewer audience (9.308 million) since the 2005-06 season. Meanwhile, “World News” is seeing its closest A25-54 demo performance with “Nightly” since the 2007-08 season.

Numbers for the week of May 5, 2014:

NBC ABC CBS
• Total Viewers: 8,231,000 7,354,000 6,258,000
• A25-54: 1,901,000 1,883,000 1,470,000

Evening News Ratings: Week of April 28

EveningNewsNewFor the third time in four weeks “World News with Diane Sawyer” takes the younger viewer demo. Sawyer edged “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams” by just 8,000 viewers in the A25-54 demo. “Nightly” was No. 1 in total viewers — for the 242nd straight week — with a +932,000 lead over the ABC broadcast.

“Nightly” was also up the most in total viewers compared to the same week last year, +14%, while “World News” was up the most in the demo: +20%. “CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley,” which will get a new executive producer in Steve Capus in a few weeks, was also up year-over-year: up +12% in viewers and up +10% in the demo.

Numbers for the week of April 28, 2014:

NBC ABC CBS
• Total Viewers: 9,026,000 8,094,000 6,991,000
• A25-54: 2,136,000 2,144,000 1,727,000

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