April 15, 2014 8:25am PT by Michael O'Connell
ABC's 'World News Tonight' Scores a Ratings Victory Over NBC's 'Nightly News'
Narrowing the gap for much of the year, ABC's World News With Diane Sawyer edged past NBC's Nightly News With Brian Williams for the week of April 7.
The dueling telecasts, which both saw their respective anchors in their desks every night, each averaged a 1.6 rating and 7 share among the news-targeted adults 25-54 -- though ABC's 1.882 million viewers in the group surpassed NBC by 12,000. It's a narrow victory, to be sure, and a rare one, ABC's first since the week of July 22, 2013, ending a 243-week NBC winning streak.
All three network broadcasts, CBS Evening News included, covered the Pennsylvania high school stabbing, the California bus crash and the ongoing stories of Oscar Pistorius' murder trial and the missing Malaysia Airlines flight. Sawyer scored the week's most noteworthy exclusive, a rare sit-down with the cast of Mad Men on Thursday.
The total viewers competition remains NBC's to lose. Nightly News averaged 8.175 million viewers for the week, above ABC's 7.378 million. (CBS placed third with 6.366 million).
Compared to the same week last year, ABC is the only network to see demo gains -- albeit by a modest 1 percent. NBC was down 18 percent and CBS down 10 percent. ABC is averaging 4 percent growth for the season to date, with year-to-year improvement 11 of the last 12 weeks.
This latest win is by no means a guarantee of wins down the road, but it is another feather in ABC News' cap after reclaiming its morning ratings dominance from NBC in 2012. Good Morning America is now the top-rated a.m. offering after nearly two decades of Today in the No. 1 slot.