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‘Nightly News’ keeps ratings lead amid Williams scandal

February 10
22:52 2015

NBCNightly News with Brian Williams beat its competitors last week while the anchor battled accusations of embellishing stories about his reporting, according to new ratings data released Tuesday. The nightly broadcast, which has been the most popular evening network news show in recent years, averaged 10.2 million viewers for five weeknights last week, edging ABC World News Tonight by 8% and CBS Evening News by 30%, Nielsen’s data show.635591062474931927-AP-France-Attack-NBC

Earlier this month, Williams attended a New York Rangers game with a soldier who helped guard him and other American soldiers while a convoy of military helicopters they were flying on was forced to land in 2003. Williams said the helicopter he was on had been hit by enemy fire and forced down. Veterans from the convoy challenged Williams’ story — which he has repeated in the past — on Facebook. Last week, Stars and Stripes published a story about the development, interviewing Williams and the veterans.

NBC’s ratings dropped on Friday to 8.4 million from 10.2 million on Wednesday, when he apologized on-air for the error. But Fridays are the lowest-rated night for all newscasts. Despite the Friday dip, NBC Nightly News had its largest total viewership in four weeks. ABC News averaged 9.5 million, while perennially third-place CBS averaged 7.9 million.

Since the scandal broke, others news organizations have published stories questioning Williams’ other tales. Williams said he saw a body floating in front of his hotel in the French Quarter neighborhood of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. The New Orleans Advocate reported last week that the Quarter was mostly dry. NBC News said last week it will investigate Williams’ past claims. While the investigation is conducted, the anchor will be off the air and be replaced by NBC veteran Lester Holt.

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