It’s unclear when exactly Jeff Glor’s last day anchoring “CBS Evening News” will be, but when he does ultimately pass the program over to Norah O’Donnell, he will likely do so exactly as he found it — last in the ratings among the show’s main competition.
A look at Nielsen data shows that Glor trailed consistently behind his rivals at ABC and NBC from the day he took over — Dec. 4, 2017 — until the present, with the second quarter of 2019 shaping up to be his worst yet in the key demographic of adults 25-54.
Though Q2 doesn’t officially conclude until the end of June, the numbers so far have Glor’s broadcast averaging 5.7 million total viewers nightly. That’s nearly 2 million viewers behind Lester Holt’s “Nightly News” on NBC, which is averaging 7.6 million, and even further behind David Muir’s “World News Tonight” on ABC, which is averaging 8.3 million nightly viewers for the quarter.
Things were no better for Glor and CBS in the advertiser-coveted 25-54 news demographic either, with “CBS Evening News” scoring just 1.1. million average demo viewers, behind ABC and NBC’s roughly 1.6 million average nightly demo viewers.
And while Glor had some quarters that were better than others, they tended to ebb and flow along with his rivals, with the anchor almost always 2 to 3 million viewers behind ABC and NBC in both good and bad months alike.
The Glor tenure continues the poor ratings performance he inherited from his predecessor in the job, Scott Pelley. Under Pelley, “CBS Evening News” likewise found itself in last place during the 2015-2016 season and, after six years at the helm of “Evening News,” Pelley was yanked from the show due to ratings, which the Washington Post’s Margaret Sullivan noted in May 2017 were “anemic” and “showed little sign of significant movement.”
In fairness, it’s also worth noting that all three news programs are down so far in Q1 2019 vs. Q1 2018.
The grim numbers picture is also not just confined to “Evening News” but affects nearly all of the network’s marquee news shows (with the notable exception of the Sunday primetime mainstay “60 Minutes”). As TheWrap reported in January,”CBS This Morning” dropped 10 percent overall and 13 percent in the demo after sexual misconduct accusations led to Charlie Rose’s ouster from the show. And when Margaret Brennan took the helm of the Sunday-morning “Face the Nation” in February 2018, ratings there also slid in both metrics by double digits.
Reps for CBS News did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Many outside observers have said recently named CBS News boss Susan Zirinsky’s top priority at the network would be turning around this bleak ratings picture, and the aggressive staffing changes announced by the network this week suggest she intends to take the challenge seriously.
In addition to O’Donnell’s move to “Evening News,” the network also confirmed that John Dickerson would be moving off “CBS This Morning” to a new home at “60 Minutes,” while Gayle King would be joined on the show by Anthony Mason and Tony Dokoupil.
It remains unclear whether Glor will remain at CBS News. In his broadcast Monday evening, the anchor was cryptic, telling viewers he would have more news to share soon.
“I have family, friends, and — in the future — far more to share with all of you,” he said. “It will be great. I promise, just as you are.”