ABC News’ “Good Morning America” and “World News Tonight” both won November sweeps for the first time in 21 years.
ABC News senior VP Tom Cibrowski says the success is partially because the network “doubled down” on election coverage and offered “a very fair representation” of both candidates, so that viewers on both sides of the aisle could consume the network’s content.
“It is an incredibly exciting time to be in the news business and I think that our passion and seriousness in covering the big stories in the news is showing,” Cibrowski told TheWrap. “These are earth-shattering times we’re living in. There has been a tremendous amount of news over the past few months.”
“World News Tonight” averaged 8.6 million viewers to edge “NBC Nightly News” by only 96,000, giving the show its first November sweep win since November 2001 when Peter Jennings sat in the chair currently occupied by David Muir.
Cibrowski explained that Muir’s success is a result of extended campaign coverage, in which segments would run longer than similar stories on rival networks because he wanted to be thorough and accurate.
“I think that makes a difference,” Cibrowski said. “David is kind of the preeminent modern newsman. He, as the leader of that program, has made a very accessible and interesting and informative program to watch every single night.”
Cibrowski said Muir is a “modern thinker” when it comes to how he looks at the news and is incredibly hands on behind the scenes.
“He is a news geek. He’s bringing his news geek passion that he’s had since he was a kid to that show,” Cibrowski said. “David is also connecting with the viewers… he makes a difference.”
While, “WNT” barely slipped past its chief rival, “GMA” continued to dominate, winning its fifth straight November and 18th consecutive sweep among total viewers. “GMA” has now won 42 of the past 47 weeks.
“GMA” averaged 4.82 million viewers, compared to 4.67 million for the “Today” show on NBC.
Cibrowski feels that “GMA” landed “the most important interviews of the cycle,” pointing to co-anchor George Stephanopoulos’ interview with Donald Trump on his comments about the Kahn family as an example.
“Because of the experience and the strength of the entire team at ABC News, we were able to distinguish ourselves with reporting on the election in a fair and accurate way,” Cibrowski said. “I think that does make a difference.”