As NBC Nightly News looks to maintain its five-year-plus winning streak among total viewers, the NBC newscast has found itself in a bit more hot water.
In the past few weeks, NBC has been re-airing its evening newscast in the early morning hours, between 2-4 a.m. local time, in ten markets: Cleveland, St. Louis, Portland, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Seattle, Denver, Charlotte, Buffalo and Knoxville, Tenn. NBC News has been counting those viewers in its weekly averages to give a small ratings boost to Lester Holt.
While the timing makes it looks conspicuous – Nightly News held off World News by just 11,000 viewers last week, the closest the ABC newscast has been since 2009 – NBC had begun re-airing Nightly News before the Brian Williams controversy really blew up. CBS and ABC do not re-air their evening newscasts.
“Over the last year we have launched NBC Nightly News on VOD and Sirius XM and we have made the broadcast available at later airings in some markets,” read an NBC News statement. “We believed there would be an appetite for NBC Nightly News in addition to its regular timeslot, and that has proven to be true: the viewer response has been overwhelmingly positive.”
Technically, NBC is not doing anything wrong. Nielsen allows for such re-airings as long as its exactly the same as the original broadcast – ads included – and can’t be done in markets that make more than 30% of the country.
The 10 markets that NBC is re-airing Nightly News make up roughly 12% of the U.S.