8:29am PT by Mikey O'Connell
'NBC Nightly News' Maintains Ratings Lead Without Brian Williams
Things aren't all bad over at NBC Nightly News. The evening news broadcast is still beating ABC and CBS, despite the absence of anchor Brian Williams.
In the first week of his six-month suspension (Feb. 9-13), the Lester Holt-anchored NBC broadcast posted a victory among total viewers, with an average 9.43 million, and adults 25-54. The demo race much tighter. Despite leading ABC News by 400,000 total viewers, NBC only just topped it in the key demo, 2.292 million to 2.242 million.
CBS remained in third place, averaging 7.628 million viewers and 1.786 million adults 25-54.
The year leading up to Williams' scandal and ensuing suspension saw a much tighter ratings race for the news shows. ABC posted several viewership wins, first under Diane Sawyer and now David Muir, and has narrowed the demo gap.
Meanwhile, a CNN/ORC poll released Wednesday has most viewers in favor of Williams being able to return to his post. Based on 1,027 adults solicited, 52 percent said that he should be allowed back, 40 percent disagreed and 8 percent said they had no opinion.