The remaining sponsors are yet to be named. The commercial-free broadcasts will air on April 2, April 9, April 16 and April 23. Carat USA negotiated the remaining commercial support.
In addition to regular news of the day, ABC will air a series called "Key to the World," reported by Bill Weir. The deal will add five minutes to the broadcast and enable it to run ad-free on those nights.
The aim of the series is to open up areas of the world U.S. viewers may not know much about. The first special will look at the devastating effects of global warming on Kiribati, a nation of 33 islands in the Pacific Ocean.
The deal is a coup for ABC, which is battling NBC for the title of No. 1 evening newscast among 25- to 54-year-olds.The commercial-free broadcasts are a ploy to boost viewership. So far this season, NBC is pulling 2.9 million viewers in the 25-54 demographic, with a 2.4 rating/9 share, while ABC is within shouting distance, with 2.86 million viewers in the demographic and 2.3 rating/9 share.
NBC aired a commercial-free news broadcast late last year thanks to a Philips Electronics sponsorship. The move won NBC almost 4,000 positive viewer e-mails. Philips also did a single sponsorship of CBS's "60 Minutes."