‘Nightly’ beats ‘World News Tonight’ in abbreviated Thanksgiving week

By Matt Collins Article may include affiliate links

NBC Nightly News” has some good news to be thankful for after a strong Thanksgiving week.

According to an announcement by NBC, “Nightly” had its best week in nearly a year and beat “ABC World News Tonight” in total viewers for the first time in three years.

However, it’s important to note that “NBC Nightly News” is calculating the “week” based on a three night average for the week of Nov. 22, 2021 — not the typical five day average (holidays such as Thanksgiving and the Friday after often are either retitled or not counted toward “regular” ratings).

ABC and CBS were calculated on two day averages.

ABC’s David Muir and CBS’s Norah O’Donnell were both out the day before Thanksgiving, Nov. 24, 2021, but NBC’s Lester Holt anchored that night, though it’s not immediately clear what effect that would have had on ratings.

Nov. 24 also marked the evening the jury in the Ahmaud Arbery came back with guilty verdicts for all of the defendants, which all three networks lead with. Coverage also included COVID-19 concerns over Thanksgiving and rising gas prices.

TV viewership often dips on major holidays, so it’s not surprising the ratings were calculated this way, but it’s still worth keeping in mind NBC had a one day advantage that went into calculating averages, though since the figures are averaged together, it’s still a decent indicator of a strong week.

All told, “Nightly” got 8.578 million viewers on average, with ABC at 8.389 million, a margin of just about 189,000. CBS had 3.253 million. NBC also beat ABC in the demos.

This ratings data includes out of home viewership in 44 markets as well as repeat airings of all three newscasts on select stations overnight and ABC’s airing of “World News Tonight” at 3:30 p.m. local time in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

“Nightly” and “World News Tonight” have been locked in a battle for top network newscast for years now, with ABC often finishing first in total viewers but NBC winning in the adults 25-54 and 18-49 demos.

CBS Evening News,” meanwhile, consistently is stuck in third place all around.