There are a multitude of television news programs airing on the major five networks and on cable television daily. CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX and The CW all have popular news shows competing in the early morning and in the evening markets, but the most popular television news shows, based on ratings and longevity, are listed below.
The Today Show has for years been one of the most popular television news shows to exist on network television. The show originally aired in January of 1952 and has been running every weekday since. For 852 consecutive weeks starting from 1995 until 2012, The Today Show has held the top Nielson rated position. Recent controversy on the show involved the dismissal of co-anchor Ann Curry after just one year with the suggestion that poor ratings caused her dismissal. In April of 2012, The Today Show dropped behind Good Morning America in ratings and by June, Ann Curry was replaced by Savannah Guthrie as co-anchor, alongside Matt Lauer. Curry continues to work for NBC as Today Anchor at Large.
Good Morning America has been The Today Show’s main competitor since it first came on air in November of 1975. A three time Daytime Emmy Award Winner, Good Morning America has mostly been in second position in the Nielson ratings. During a period from the mid-1980s and through to the mid-1990s, Good Morning America took over as the leading daytime news show when the program was hosted by Joan Lunden and David Hartman, and also when Charlie Gibson replaced David Hartman in 1987. Then in April of 2012, the show, now co-anchored by Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos emerged victorious in gaining the top Nielson rated show over The Today Show.
When it comes to the most popular television news shows airing in an evening time spot, NBC Nightly News, which first aired in 1970, has held a strong dominance since the early eighties when it was hosted by Tom Brokaw. In 2004, Brian Williams took over as anchor for NBC Nightly News and continued to hold the lead in ratings until February of 2007 when World News with Charles Gibson beat Williams in the ratings. The victory didn’t last long for Gibson when just after a few months, NBC Nightly News regained its top spot and has held it to this day with a regular viewership of 10,000,000 people nightly.
ABC World News, originally titled World News Tonight, has been running since 1953. The show, currently hosted by Diane Sawyer, has had several twilight moments in it’s extensive run. Always the third place evening news show, World News Tonight hired a young Canadian anchor in 1965 named Peter Jennings. In the sixties, Jennings did little to help raise the show’s ratings and was replaced after two years by Bob Young. But that would not be the last the world would hear of Peter Jennings. 1n 1983, Peter Jennings returned a seasoned journalist and took over as sole anchor of World News Tonight. From 1989 to 1996, Peter Jennings led World News Tonight with Peter Jennings as the top rated nightly news show. In 2005, Peter Jennings announced on air that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer and died two years later.
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