"NBC Nightly News" has barely skipped a beat since Brian Williams was suspended from the network news broadcast 5 months ago. In fact, the evening broadcast has just has just hit the number one spot in network news for the third consecutive week.
This is due to Williams’ replacement Lester Holt, who officially took over as anchor last month. Williams was suspended for making false statement about his reporting of the Iraq War. He will be reassigned to anchor breaking news segments on cable network MSNBC after his suspension ends next month.
For the week of July 6-10, Nielsen data showed "NBC Nightly News" averaged 8.1 million viewers, 9% ahead of "ABC World News Tonight" (7.5 million) and 22% ahead of "CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley" (6.7 million). In the 25-54 demographic, NBC had a 10% lead over ABC and a 30% lead over CBS, according to the L.A. Times.
The nightly news broadcast has also taken a narrow lead of 5,000 viewers over "ABC World News Tonight With David Muir" in the 2014-15 TV season among the audience of 25- to 54-year-olds.
Holt is the former weekend anchor of “Today” and “NBC Nightly News,” and anchor of “Dateline NBC.” He joined NBC News in 2000.
"Lester was seen as the best possible replacement among all we asked about, and it seems that is consistent now that he's got the job," Jaime Spencer, senior vice president at the media consulting firm Frank N. Magid Associates, said.