06/02/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Evening News Ratings: ABC, CBS See Worst Quarters Ever While NBC Thrives

The "CBS Evening News" and ABC's "World News" have just closed their worst quarter on record.

The New York Times' Bill Carter takes a look at the first quarter ratings numbers for the network evening news broadcasts, and reports that both Katie Couric's and Diane Sawyer's broadcasts have "sunk to the lowest numbers the [programs have had] in a first quarter since the People Meter was introduced by Nielsen in 1987."

On the other end of the spectrum is NBC, where "Nightly News with Brian Williams" averaged 9.92 million total viewers for its best first quarter average in five years. ABC's "World News with Diane Sawyer" came in second with 8.27 million total viewers, while "CBS Evening News with Katie Couric" placed third with 6.45 million total viewers.


Of course, NBC had the benefit of Olympics coverage during the first quarter, which likely gave a big boost to its news programs as well.

Carter also notes that "World News" is down a modest 3 percent from a year ago, when Charlie Gibson anchored the program. That likely says less about the anchor switch to Diane Sawyer than it does about the first quarter of 2009 — which included coverage of President Obama's inauguration and the first months of his presidency — and NBC's Olympics boost. Indeed, as Carter notes in a blog post, since the Olympics have ended, Sawyer "has been a somewhat closer second to Brian Williams and NBC."