MUIR BREAKS ABC NEWS’ RATINGS RECORD SEASON-TO-DATE,  ANCHORS ONLY WEEK FOR NET WITHOUT YEAR-TO-YEAR DECLINE

David Muir: the next generation of ABC News?

You won’t read this in their press releases, but a stealth weapon has been discovered at ABC News. TMZ has already called him the “Brad Pitt of network anchors.”

TMZ may prove to be way ahead of ABC’s revolving research and management teams.

His name is David Muir and remember that you read it here first: the holiday week Muir filled in for Diane Sawyer, a rare week without an ABC News press release to spin, er tout the ratings, David Muir increased the viewership of adults 25-54 by a whopping 8% over the year before. And that week, the week of December 27th, was the only week of the entire season-to-date (the past 16 weeks) that the demo at ABC News has increased over the prior year.

Some keen observers may say the boost was due to the big snow storm hitting parts of the east coast, especially New York where Brian Williams reported outside in the snow.  He was up 10% year to year.  CBS News with newly deposed morning anchor Harry Smith filling in for Katie Couric, however, was down 9%.

NEW ABC PRESS RELEASE OUT TODAY

Interestingly, today ABC News issued a press release today lauding the week of January 3rd  with the headline: “World News with Diane Sawyer” Draws Second Most Watched Week in Nearly a Year. (The most watched week? Shhhh, David Muir.)

Here’s a look at the season so far. Just scroll down the ABC column and you’ll see David Muir’s remarkable bright spot.
EVENING NEWSCASTS: % CHANGE 2010 versus 2009
A25-54
ABC CBS NBC
20-Sep -7% 1% 5%
27-Sep -15% -4% -9%
4-Oct -10% 8% -17%
11-Oct -9% -8% -16%
18-Oct -11% -13% -9%
25-Oct -12% -8% -11%
1-Nov -13% -11% -13%
8-Nov -13% -4% -2%
15-Nov -4% 4% Flat
22-Nov -5% 22% 7%
29-Nov -3% -10% -3%
6-Dec -8% -10% -7%
13-Dec -3% -1% -3%
20-Dec -6% 8% -6%
27-Dec 8%* -9% 10%
3-Jan -14% -15% -12%
*David Muir substituted

Here are the numbers for the week of Jan. 3:

NBC ABC CBS
• Total Viewers: 9,910,000 8,420,000 6,330,000
• A25-54: 2,910,000 2,300,000 1,920,000



WHO’S HAD THE HAPPIEST NEW YEAR SO FAR?

Year to year all three networks were down double digits the week of January 3rd.

Week to week changes in A25-54, NBC is down 70,000, CBS up 90,000, ABC down 230,000.

The week of December 27th, , the demo gap between David Muir and Harry Smith was 700,000 viewers. The following week, January 3rd, the A25-54 gap between Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric was just 380,000.

What a ratings battle, what a story.  The big question now: throughout the rest of 2011, will we be seeing more or less of David Muir?

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