Are the 2016 Elections Good News for Sunday Show Ratings?

The picture is better than last year, but why?

As the Sunday shows compete for viewers each week, the 2016 election season has, it appears, been good to most of them. If we look at this month so far, the ratings picture on the whole has been a lot rosier than the same time last year.

Looking at just this past week, there’s Fox News Sunday, for one, which had its most-watched show in almost seven years, as 1,729,000 tuned in to watch Ben Carson flubbing foreign policy, according to Nielsen. While it was Carson’s 21st appearance on a Sunday show this year, it was his only one last Sunday.

NBC’s Meet the Press meanwhile, continued to roll with its Chuck Todd-era growth, and was up +25 percent in total viewers and up +43 percent in the A25-54 demo compared to the week before. (It was up +36 percent in viewers and up +55 percent in the demo the previous Sunday.)

ABC’s This Week also had double-digit growth in viewers, at +12 percent, and was up +5 percent in the demo.

Of course, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it is that is contributing to the boost. How much of MTP’s growth is due to the elections, and how much to Todd’s turn as host? How much do the debates (the Democrats faced off Saturday night) OR important, one-off events like the Paris attacks compel viewers to tune in? Whatever the reason, the networks are liking what they’re seeing.