Evening News on Broadcast Doing Real Numbers

Coronavirus has been a boon for evening news on broadcast, reported the NY Times, with viewers not only home and ready to watch TV, but hungering for fact-based content too. An average of 32.2 million people watching the evening newscasts last week, said the Times, a 42% gain from a year earlier. In viewers 25-54, the increase was 67%.

“I think the evening news plays a public service role and now we’re playing a public health role,” Norah O’Donnell, anchor on CBS Evening News, told the paper.

ABC’s World News Tonight and NBC’s NBC Nightly News averaged around 12 million per evening newscast last week. It was ABC’s highest number since 2000 and NBC’s highest since 2005. “I do feel the responsibility, more than ever before, that we don’t add to the noise,” said World News Tonight anchor David Muir. “We have to have a place where people can cut through it all and find the facts.”

CBS Evening News averaged 7.6 million viewers last week, up 21%, while the pickup was 30% among viewers 25-54.

This comes with many staffers stuck at home. The CBS Broadcast Center in Manhattan, for one, is closed. NBC is staggering the number of people coming and going at 30 Rock.

NBC News has built a studio in anchor Lester Holt’s Manhattan apartment, said the Times.

Holt called the newscasts “comfort food” in troublesome times.

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.