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ABC Muir Tops NBC Holt in Weekly Ratings

Issued: 2018-03-13

Thank you, Oscars spillover

ABC News/Getty

ABC’s “World News Tonight” with anchor David Muir just topped NBC’s “Nightly News” with Lester Holt in weekly TV ratings for the first time in nearly two years — thanks, Oscars carryover!

The ABC News program won the key 25-54 demographic, the 18-49 demo, and total viewers last week. Ordinarily, it is the main demo that alludes the Disney-owned journalism arm.

The Academy Awards-boosted victory snapped a 21-month, 89-week demo win streak for NBC News. Sorry Lester, but it’s Oscars season — and ABC’s Monday broadcast was heavily propped up over that.

Also Read: ABC 'World News Tonight' Tops 'NBC Nightly News' Viewers in Olympics Week for First Time in 25 Years

The surging “World News Tonight” on ABC averaged 9.215 million total viewers last week, with 1.988 million of them coming from the advertiser-coveted 25-54 demographic, and 1.381 million aged 18-49.

Those Nielsen numbers beat “Nightly” by 886,000 total viewers, with a gap of 81,000 in the main demo. The 18-49 margin was even slimmer, with ABC scoring a “W” by just 26,000 audience members.

“CBS Evening News” was a distant third as usual, averaging 6.502 million total viewers, with just 1.409 million in the main age-range. The CBS News program drew 948,000 viewers aged 18-49.

It's a drastic step when a television network changes its programming in the wake of a national tragedy. But nowadays it's all too common to see a show pulled, delayed, or even changed out of sensitivity for current events. In the wake of the recent massacre in Las Vegas that left nearly 60 dead and hundreds more injured, FX has a scheduled episode of "American Horror Story" that features a mass shooting set to air Oct. 10. Will the network make changes around the episode? Here TheWrap recalls 12 other shows that have altered programming in the face of real-world violence.

40th Annual Academy Awards

The awards show was originally scheduled for April 8, 1968, but was postponed two days out of respect for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,  who was assassinated four days earlier. A number of attendees, including Sidney Poitier and Sammy Davis Jr., planned to attend the slain civil rights leader's funeral -- held on the same day as the original Oscars date -- and had said they wouldn't attend the awards show.

"Buffy the Vampire Slayer"

The Joss Whedon supernatural drama was affected not once but twice by real world events, specifically the Columbine massacre. The show's third season had two episodes that featured school violence. One, called "Earshot," featured a plot concerning a student who goes to the top of a tower with a rifle. It was set to run a week after Columbine, but was pulled and postponed.

"Buffy the Vampire Slayer"

The Season 3 finale "Graduation Day, Part Two" also featured violence on school grounds. Specifically (and spoilers for a nearly 20-year-old episode), the school is destroyed. Two hours before it was set to air, the WB postponed the episode, fearing fallout from Columbine. The finale's airing was delayed for two months, but fans were furious about the decision and the network ended up posting it online.

53rd Annual Emmy Awards

That year's Primetime Emmys were set to air on Sept. 16, 2001, but the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 caused it to be postponed. The awards were postponed a second time after the U.S. launched airstrikes against Afghanistan. The ceremony was eventually held in November, with Ellen Degeneres hosting, but it still marks the first and only time a major awards show had to be postponed twice.


In the Season 8 episode "The One Where Rachel Tells..." a scene that originally had Chandler joking about a bomb in an airport -- leading to him and Monica getting detained -- was changed following Sept. 11. The scene was reshot with Monica complaining about another newlywed couple that got perks.


The Bryan Fuller series about Hannibal Lecter never shied away from gore and viscera, but the show's fourth episode, "Oeuf" was pulled completely from the airwaves. The plot revolved around a woman who was brainwashing children to kill their families. While the episode was set to air in April 2013 -- four months after the Sandy Hook shooting -- NBC delayed airing it indefinitely due to the subject matter. The episode has never aired.


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