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Without Brian Williams, NBC Nightly News ratings go up

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Charles Sykes/NBC

Fears that NBC Nightly News might collapse without Brian Williams appear to be unfounded. With Lester Holt in the anchor chair, the telecast actually rose in the ratings last week by seven percent, up to 10.1 million viewers. 

The program was No. 1 in viewers and adults 18-49, though was second to ABC in the news demo of adults 25-54. The news show has only topped 10 million viewers four times this season, so for one of those times to be a week without Williams at the helm is certainly good news for NBC.

It’s worth pointing out that rivals posted weekly gains—so this could be a “rising tide / all boats” situation—and there could simply be increased interest in the program following all the headlines about Willliams’ six-month suspension. The outcome of these sort of TV host/anchor shakeups are seldom clear in the short term.