During the 2010-2011 season, each of the three major news networks grew their audience by more than 2 percent. Diane Sawyer’s ABC broadcast experienced the biggest uptick, with an increase of 3.3 percent. * Those numbers might look small, but they’re actually remarkable — they represent the first time in nine years that people have tuned into the nightly news in higher numbers. Part of that might have had a little something to do with, well, the news: It was a television season that bore witness to the Arab Spring, WikiLeaks, Osama Bin Laden’s capture, and the debt-ceiling negotiations, to name just a few of the highlights. So the results, of course, can’t necessarily be replicated, but that people still tuned into the traditional broadcasts has to be heartening for the networks, who still invest heavily in a format that’s brought them only diminishing returns of late.
*This post has been corrected to show that Diane Sawyer anchors ABC’s broadcast, not CBS’.