ABC 'World News' tops NBC for first time in 288 weeks

David Muir.
David Muir. (Lorenzo Bevilaqua / ABC)

ABC's "World News" beat the beleaguered NBC for the first time since 2009 in overall viewers last week.

If you are counting, that is a string of 288 straight weeks snapped by the ABC surge.


The newscast anchored by David Muir also beat "NBC Nightly News" with Lester Holt in the two key demographics of viewers 25 to 54 and 18 to 49 years of age. It was the first time in more than seven years that ABC's newscast beat NBC in all three key audience measurement categories.

And don't think bringing back Brian Williams, the lying anchor, after his six-month suspension ends this summer is going to fix anything for NBC.

This shift in the evening news landscape has been building for more than a year. It's deeper than Lester Holt or Williams. It simply reached critical mass last week after NBC overnight reruns of "The Nightly News" stopped being counted by Nielsen.

As if new NBC News chairman Andy Lack didn't have enough trouble with MSNBC cratering deeper than even its harshest critics imagined, the ratings victory by ABC puts even more pressure on him to act - or at least give some indication that he has an idea on how to pull NBC News out of the deadly tailspin that continues to accelerate.

Monday was his first official day on the job, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Welcome aboard a news division without a journalistic compass that is now taking on water and steadily sinking in the ratings.

Here are the numbers for the week of March 30:

Total Viewers

World News: 7.997 million

Nightly News: 7.913 million

The difference is 84,000 viewers, and it is the first No. 1 rank in overall viewing for ABC World News since the week of 9/7/2009.

Adults 25-54

World News: 1.952 million

Nightly News: 1.791 million


The difference of 161,000 viewers is the largest lead lead ABC has held in over four months. But it's been winning the demo battle consistently.

Adults 18-49

NBC also won adults 18 to 49 last week, topping NBC by 58,000 viewers in that category. That was the largest margin in 13 weeks.