There’s a new No. 1 in evening news. ABC News’ “World News Tonight” finished first in all of the key ratings categories last week, surpassing perennial leader NBC News for the first time in more than six years, writes Bill Carter in The New York Times.
“ABC had been edging ahead of NBC in the newscast competition more regularly among viewers ages 25 to 54 — the group that drives most advertising sales for news programs,” Carter writes, adding that NBC had continued to maintain an advantage in total viewers and in the 18-49 demographic.
“That changed last week, when ABC’s newscast had 8.41 million total viewers, compared with 8.25 million for NBC,” Carter adds. “ABC also edged NBC in the 18-49 category and won in the 25-54 group for a ninth straight week.”
The win came after David Muir replaced Diane Sawyer Sept. 1 as lead anchor on the ABC News evening newscast, but it continued a rising trend for ABC that had begun on Sawyer’s watch, Carter’s piece notes.
ABC’s win prompted what the New York Post’s Page Six calls “crisis meetings” at NBC News over the future of “Nightly News with Brian Williams.”
The Post story quotes sources saying that after the ratings figures came out Tuesday, “the NBC News morning call was very somber. A meeting was held with the ‘Nightly News’ executive producer to try to motivate the staff. There will be further crisis meetings.”
Complicating the situation, NBC News President Deborah Turness and Williams reportedly have an “icy” relationship, the piece adds.
But a representative for NBC denied the report about Williams and Turness, and said the two “talk all the time and meet multiple times a week.”
The rep added: “The only tension in our morning call was about getting our colleagues safely out of West Africa.”