*The tide appears to be turning.
ABC’s “World News Tonight” was the most-watched of the three broadcast evening newscasts, beating “NBC Nightly News” in total viewers for the first time since Sept. 2009.
The change comes on Lester Holt’s watch, as “Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams remains on a six-month suspension for embellishing his proximity to danger during a 2003 reporting trip to Iraq. Holt, usually the weekend anchor, is filling in for Williams during the week.
ABC’s “World News Tonight” with David Muir toped “Nightly News” by 84,000 viewers for the week ending April 3, according to Nielsen. “World News” drew 7.997 million viewers to “Nightly’s” 7.913 million.
“Lester Holt has led NBC Nightly News to great success over the past two months, and we continue to be pleased with his strong performance during this time,” an NBC News spokesperson said in a statement. “We’re proud of the caliber of our work and remain committed to delivering the highest quality broadcast for our audience every night.”
Nightly is still ahead for the season overall, with an average of 9.2 million total viewers compared with ABC’s 9.1 million. But Muir’s broadcast has already picked off 14 weeks among viewers 25-54, the demographic upon which most news programming is sold to advertisers. “World News” also won the week among that demo, with 1.95 million viewers compared with NBC’s 1.79 million.
It’s unclear what impact, if any, ABC’s ratings win will have on Holt’s future on “Nightly.” According to The Hollywood Reporter, “many at NBC News continue to advocate for the well-liked veteran anchor, who has been a stabilizing force on the broadcast and in a news division rocked by a series of missteps.”