NBC

'NBC Nightly News' Lost 700K Viewers After Brian Williams' Suspension

Brian Williams took hundreds of thousands of viewers with him when he left NBC earlier this month.

An average of 10.1 million people tuned into "NBC Nightly News" during the week of Feb. 2-6, according to the New York Post.

That was the last week Williams hosted the 6:30 pm show before he was suspended for six months without pay.

The punishment was a result of his admission that he had lied about his helicopter being hit by terrorists in Iraq in 2003.

Lester Holt took over last week, and the average viewers for Feb. 9-13 dropped to 9.4 million.

That's a loss of approximately 700,000 viewers.

It isn't clear if that loss should be mainly attributed to the damage Williams did to NBC's reputation or his fans' refusal to watch his replacement.

But it couldn't have come at a worse time as the winter is usually when news networks see some of the best ratings of the year.

Ratings analyst Andrew Tyndall told the New York Post,

News ratings are historically the lowest in summer and the highest in winter, when it's cold and people stay indoors. This is the most competitive time of the year.

"NBC Nightly News" averaged around 11 million viewers during the first two weeks of February in 2014.

Looking to poach the network's former fans is ABC's "World News Tonight," which is currently hosted by David Muir.

"Nightly News" remained on top last week, exceeding its competitor by 400,000 viewers.

The networks are nearly deadlocked, however, when it comes to viewers ages 25-54.

This is the most essential demographic for news programs, and the Post says that NBC squeaked by last week by just 50,000 of these viewers.

Williams is currently being investigated over suspicion that he lied about several other stories.

Allison Williams, the anchor's daughter and star of HBO's "Girls," defended her father to Seth Myers at an event at 92nd Street Y last night, according to Time.

She said,

He's an honest man. He's a truthful man. He has so much integrity. He cares so much about journalism. And yes, he's a really good dad, but I know you can trust him because, as any good daughter does, I have tested him on that.

She added she has been blown away by the amount of strangers who have told her how badly they want her father back on TV.

Citations: NBC Nightly News loses 700K viewers after Brian Williams scandal (The New York Post), Watch Allison Williams Defend Her Fathers Honor (Time)