First Time in 10 Years: Three Evening Newscasts Up in Ratings

It is the first time in a decade that broadcasts on NBC, ABC and CBS have collectively added viewers.
Ida Mae Astute/ABC

The evening newscasts have been fighting a war of attrition for years. But a particularly newsy second quarter with the Royal Wedding, the tsunami and earthquakes in Japan and the killing of Osama bin Laden has given the broadcasts a ratings shot in the arm.

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All three newscasts added viewers in the second quarter; the first time they have seen a collective year-over-year increase in more than ten years.

The NBC Nightly News had its best quarter since second quarter 2006. ABC World News drew its biggest audience in three years (since second quarter 2008). And the CBS Evening News, which had Katie Couric pass the baton to Scott Pelley earlier this month, was up 8 percent compared to second quarter 2010 averaging 5.6 million viewers for the just ended quarter. Additionally, in Pelley’s first three weeks in the anchor chair, the broadcast has added more than a quarter of a million viewers.

Nightly News with Brian Williams continued as the top-rated newscast averaging 8.5 million viewers for the quarter up 12 percent year-over-year. World New with Diane Sawyer averaged 7.6 million viewers with 2.0 million in news’ target demographic of 25-54 year olds. Those mark gains of 9 percent in total viewers and three percent in the demo.

Collectively, the three evening news broadcasts averaged more than 21 million viewers a week during the quarter.


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