David Muir's ABC news broadcast breaks Brian Williams-less 'Nightly News' 5-year total viewers streak

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David Muir's ABC news broadcast breaks Brian Williams-less 'Nightly News' 5-year total viewers streak
In this image released by ABC News, anchor David Muir from "World News Tonight with David Muir," appears on the set in New York. ABC's "World News" beat NBC's "Nightly News" in viewership last week, only a month after David Muir took over as anchor from Diane Sawyer. NBC's Brian Williams-led newscast had ruled for 263 consecutive weeks, a streak that began in September 2009, and for 310 of the past 311 weeks. Last week ABC's broadcast averaged 8.42 million viewers, while NBC had 8.25 million, the Nielsen company said. (AP Photo/ABC, Lorenzo Bevilaqua)
David Muir attends A Celebration of Barbara Walters at the Four Seasons Restaurant on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
This image released by ABC News shows, from left, David Muir, George Stephanopoulos, Diane Sawyer and ABC News President James Goldston on Wednesday, June 25, 2014, in New York. Sawyer is stepping down as its evening news anchor, to be replaced by David Muir. The network said Sawyer will concentrate on interviews and specials. During her tenure, ABC’s “World News” was a steady second to Brian Williams at NBC, although the ABC broadcast has made gains among younger viewers. ABC said George Stephanopoulos will take on a new role as chief anchor for live news events. (AP Photo/ABC, Heidi Gutman)
ABC News anchor David Muir speaks before retired boxing champion Muhammad Ali received the Liberty Medal during a ceremony at the National Constitution Center, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012, in Philadelphia. The honor is given annually to an individual who displays courage and conviction while striving to secure liberty for people worldwide. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - The GMA team gets soaked taking the Ice Bucket Challenge, promoting awareness of ALS, on GOOD MORNING AMERICA, 8/15/14, airing on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Fred Lee/ABC via Getty Images) DAVID MUIR
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 1: Amy Robach, David Muir host of Good Morning America in New York.Credit:RW/MediaPunch/IPX
BOSTON - AUGUST 26: David Muir, who will replace Diane Sawyer at ABC, filmed promos with J.C. Monahan, of WCVB's Chronicle, along the waterfront in Boston on August 26, 2014. (Photo by Wendy Maeda/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 29: (L-R) Amy Robach, Ginger Zee, Lara Spencer, David Muir, and Brad Paisley speak on stage during ABC's 'Good Morning America' at Rumsey Playfield, Central Park on August 29, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 22: (L-R) Robin Roberts, David Muir, and Amy Robach dance on stage while the band Magic! performs on ABC's 'Good Morning America' at Rumsey Playfield, Central Park on August 22, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 15: (L-R) Ginger Zee, David Muir, Brian Kelley of Florida Georgia Line, Amy Robach, Lara Spencer, and Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line visit ABC's 'Good Morning America' at Rumsey Playfield, Central Park on August 15, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 12: (L-R) President of ABC News James Goldston, Barbara Walters, ABC News anchor David Muir and Chairman of the Walt Disney Company Bob Iger attend the 'Barbara Walters Building' ABC News Headquarters Dedication Ceremony on May 12, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 12: (L-R) ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer; ABC News anchor David Muir and ABC 'Good Morning America' anchor Robin Roberts attend the dedication ceremony as ABC News headquarters in New York is proclaimed 'The Barbara Walters Building' ABC News Headquarters Dedication Ceremony on May 12, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
ABC NEWS - ABC News covers the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, 8/28/12, airing on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Ida Mae Astute/ABC via Getty Images) DAVID MUIR, DIANE SAWYER
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 03: Journalist David Muir (R) and guest attend the Bloomberg & Vanity Fair cocktail reception following the 2014 WHCA Dinner at Villa Firenze on May 3, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/VF14/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: David Muir visits The Empire State Building on April 24, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Steve Mack/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: David Muir visits The Empire State Building on April 24, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Steve Mack/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 05: (L-R) Journalist David Muir, Kelly Ripa, President of Disney/ABC Anne Sweeney, Dean at S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications Lorraine Branham and Michael Strahan attend the 2013 Newhouse Mirror Awards Luncheon at Cipriani 42nd Street on June 5, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Desiree Navarro/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 05: Journalist David Muir attends the 2013 Newhouse Mirror Awards at Cipriani 42nd Street on June 5, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images)
THE VIEW - (airs 1.25.13) ABC News’ David Muir guest co-hosts “Guy Day Friday”; Drew Barrymore introduces her new makeup line, “Flower”; “Real Life Hot Topics” with a brother and sister from Iowa, separated as children, placed into foster care 65 years ago and recently reunited through Facebook. 'The View' airs Monday-Friday (11:00 am-12:00 noon, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Lou Rocco/Disney-ABC via Getty Images) WHOOPI GOLDBERG, JOY BEHAR, DAVID MUIR, SHERRI SHEPHERD, ELISABETH HASSELBECK
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - Angela Bassett and Mary J. Blige are guests on 'Good Morning America,' 1/28/13, airing on the ABc Televsion Network. (Photo by Fred Lee/ABC via Getty Images) DAVID MUIR, ELIZABETH VARGAS, GEORGE STEPHAOPOULOS, LARA SPENCER, SAM CHAMPION
ABC NEWS - ABC News' David Muir follows the 2012 Republican Race from Manchester, New Hampshire. Coverage of the election airs on all ABC News Platforms. (Photo by Donna Svennevik/ABC via Getty Images)DAVID MUIR
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - Rocco DiSpirito shares easy recipes to help you slim down on 'Good Morning America,' 7/19/11 on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Heidi Gutman/ABC via Getty Images)DAVID MUIR, ROCCO DISPIRITO
ABC NEWS - From London, ABC News broadcasts live from Media Village at Buckingham Palace, 4/29/11, as viewers are taken inside the Royal Wedding with comprehensive coverage across all ABC News platforms.(Photo by Donna Svennevik/ABC via Getty Images)DAVID MUIR, DIANE SAWYER, BARBARA WALTERS
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - David Muir operates the GMA Smart Screen on GOOD MORNING AMERICA, 3/21/11. GM11 (Photo by Ida Mae Astute/ABC via Getty Images)DAVID MUIR
NEW YORK - AUGUST 21: (L-R) Anchors Diane Sawyer and David Muir with performer Reba McEntire (middle) attend ABC's 'Good Morning America' at Rumsey Playfield, Central Park on August 21, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Janette Pellegrini/WireImage)
ABC World News weekend anchor David Muir and model Petra Nemcova attend the 10th Annual Women Who Care luncheon benefitting United Cerebral Palsy of New York City at Cipriani 42nd Street on Thursday, May 5, 2011 in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 22: David Muir (L) and Nasri Atweh of the band Magic! jump on stage during ABC's 'Good Morning America' at Rumsey Playfield, Central Park on August 22, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK - JUNE 25: ABC News today, June 25, 2014, announced new roles for anchors Diane Sawyer, George Stephanopoulos and David Muir. Sawyer will lead new programming tackling big issues and extraordinary interviews. Stephanopoulos, Anchor of Good Morning America and This Week, has been promoted to Chief Anchor of ABC News, handling special reports and breaking news. Muir, Anchor of 20/20, will become Anchor and Managing Editor of World News starting September 2. (Photo by Heidi Gutman/ABC via Getty Images) DAVID MUIR, GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, DIANE SAWYER, JAMES GOLDSTON
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 06: Journalist David Muir attends the Dior & Vanity Fair with The Cinema Society premiere of The Weinstein Company's 'The Immigrant' at The Paley Center for Media on May 6, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - OneRepublic performs live from Central Park on 'Good Morning America,' 7/12/13, airing on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Donna Svennevik/ABC via Getty Images) DAVID MUIR, ONE REPUBLIC
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 12: David Muir (2nd L) and Lara Spencer (C) interview (L-R) Drew Brown, Ryan Tedder, Zach Filkins, Eddie Fisher, and Brent Kutzle of OneRepublic during ABC's 'Good Morning America' at Rumsey Playfield on July 12, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 05: Donald Newhouse(L) and ABC NewÕs David Muir attends the 2013 Newhouse Mirror Awards at Cipriani 42nd Street on June 5, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images)
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"World News Tonight" wins total viewers for first time in 288 weeks, 7,997,000 viewers vs. 7,913,000 for "Nightly News"

ABC News executives are smiling wide Tuesday as its evening newscast has broken NBC News' five-year reign as total viewers champion.

For the week of March 30th, "World News Tonight" with David Muir beat "Nightly News" with substitute anchor Lester Holt, 7,997,000 total viewers vs. 7,913,000 total viewers.

WNT also won the advertising-coveted 25-54 demo and the 18-49 demo: the first time in seven years the ABC broadcast has won all three demos.

Also Read: David Muir on Why He'll Never Abandon His Reporting Roots: 'I'm Not Some Guy in a Suit'

In the 25-54 demo, Muir's broadcast drew 1,952,000 viewers vs. Nightly's 1,791,00 viewers; in the 18-49 demo, WNT attracted 1,286,000 vs. Nightly News' 1,228,000 viewers.

Nightly News' over 5-year streak winning total viewers was inevitably going to end at some point, but the timing of ABC News' victory is critical as new NBC News/MSNBC Chairman Andy Lack officially starts his job this week.

Also Read: 5 Ways NBC News' Incoming Chief Andrew Lack Can Fix The Fading Peacock

As TheWrap reported, one of his first orders of business will be deciding on whether to bring back Williams-currently in the third month of his suspension-or permanently part ways with the embattled anchor.

In addition to the ABC victory marking the first over NBC News in five-and-a-half years, its also its first total viewers victory over Holt, who's been filling in for the suspended Williams.

Also Read: Nielsen's Colossal Screw-Up Strips ABC's David Muir of Ratings Win Over NBC's Brian Williams

If Holt retakes the total viewers lead, NBC News executives might breathe an air of relief. However, if ABC's nightly newscast keeps winning in total viewers, it might force Lack's hand to bring Williams back-after all, NBC's winning streak took place under Williams.

NBC News is keenly aware of what happened in 2011-2012, when "Good Morning America" slowly chipped away at the "Today" show's total viewers streak. It eventually overtook the show, and has not looked back since, continuing to be the most-watched morning show three years later.

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