March 13, 2006

Network Evening News Ratings

ABC World News Tonight CBS Evening News NBC Nightly News Total
1980 12.6 15.9 13.8 42.3
1981 13.6 13.4 13.2 40.2
1982 12.5 14.2 11.6 38.3
1983 11.5 14 11.6 37.1
1984 11.5 13 11.1 35.6
1985 11.7 13.5 12.3 37.5
1986 10.9 12.4 12.3 35.6
1987 11.2 12.4 11 34.6
1988 10.9 11 10.3 32.2
1989 10.9 10.4 9.9 31.2
1990 11.1 9.9 9.4 30.4
1991 11.2 9.8 9.6 30.6
1992 11.6 10.3 9.6 31.5
1993 11 9.9 10.1 31
1994 10.6 9.6 9.3 29.5
1995 9.8 7.9 8.7 26.4
1996 9.1 7.7 8.9 25.7
1997 8.5 8.4 8.9 25.8
1998 8.2 7.9 8.3 24.4
1999 8 7.1 8.3 23.4
2000 8 7.1 8.4 23.5
2001 8.3 7.1 8 23.4
2002 7.4 6.3 7.8 21.5
2003 7.1 5.9 7.6 20.6
2004 6.9 5.5 7.8 20.2
2005 6.2 5.5 7.2 18.9

All three networks have been losing audience steadily since the 1970s. NBC became the No. 1 rated evening newscast in the late 1990s not because it attracted new viewers but because it lost viewers at a lesser rate than ABC and CBS.