March 12, 2007

Evening News Viewership, by Network

ABC World News Tonight CBS Evening News NBC Nightly News
1980 15.8 19.1 17.2
1981 16.6 16.6 16.9
1982 16 17.2 14.5
1983 14.7 18.3 15.3
1984 15.1 16.3 14.9
1985 15.3 16.9 15.8
1986 13.9 15.5 16.4
1987 14.4 16.2 14.8
1988 14.2 14.4 13.5
1989 14.6 14.1 13.2
1990 14.8 13.4 12.8
1991 15.4 13 12.8
1992 15.3 13.6 12.8
1993 14.3 13.1 13.3
1994 14.1 12.6 12.2
1995 13.4 10.7 11.6
1996 12.4 10.1 12
1997 11.2 11.5 12
1998 10.9 10.5 10.7
1999 10.9 9.7 11.4
2000 10.7 9.6 11.6
2001 11.5 9.9 11.4
2002 10.6 8.8 10.7
2003 10.1 8.3 10.9
2004 9.9 7.7 11.2
2005 8.9 7.8 10.3
2006 8.8 7.8 9.5

Since 1980, there have been three distinct winners in the network news audience race. In the 1980s, CBS was dominant. From 1989 to 1996, ABC dominated. Since then, with occasional exceptions, NBC has enjoyed a narrower advantage.