March 18, 2014 11:39am PT by Michael O'Connell
ABC Narrows NBC Ratings Gap as Broadcast News Pushes Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight
With all three nightly broadcast news programs leading with missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 during the week of March 10, ABC, CBS and NBC all saw viewership rise.
Each of the three networks devoted a considerable amount of coverage to the Malaysia story Monday through Friday, making it the top news story of the week. ABC's World News With Diane Sawyer, the most-improved of the trio, continued to close its demo gap with dominant NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams. World News improved 12 percent among adults 25-54 to 2.1 million in the demo, off just 99,000 from Nightly News.
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That marks the third week in a row that World News has come within 100,000 viewers of Nightly News.
Nightly News, which saw Lester Holt and Ann Curry pinch-hitting for Williams during the week, was again tops with 9.02 million total viewers. Both NBC and ABC were improved by 12 percent in total audience, with ABC averaging 8.06 million viewers for second place.
The surplus of news -- the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, an apartment collapse in New York, a deadly car crash at Austin, Texas' South by Southwest festival -- seemed to drive the most viewers to NBC and ABC.
CBS actually saw a slip in the demo. The third-place broadcast from Scott Pelley was down 7 percent to 1.6 million viewers. Total viewership (6.65 million) was improved by 4 percent.