April 5 Sunday Show Ratings: Face the Nation Earns Most Total Viewers, While Meet the Press Is No. 1 in A25-54

By A.J. Katz 

Wall-to-wall coverage of the coronavirus pandemic continues to give the Sunday shows a Nielsen ratings lift, with Face the Nation receiving the most significant bump right now.

Two weeks after earning its largest audience in 29 years, the April 5 edition of CBS Face the Nation with Margaret Brennan beat the competition in Total Viewers for the 2nd time in 3 weeks, averaging 5 million. That total is up from last week’s broadcast (3.11 million), but down a bit from that huge March 22 performance (5.15 million viewers).

It’s worth noting, however, that Face the Nation’s lead-in CBS Sunday Morning delivered a whopping 6.8 million total viewers on April 5.

FTN also delivered 1.11 million Adults 25-54. That’s up from the prior week (March 29), but down from the March 22 broadcast, which had delivered 1.23 million Adults 25-54, the program’s best delivery in the demo since Jan. 3, 2016.

NBC Meet the Press with Chuck Todd, remained No. 1 in the A25-54 with 1.2 million viewers, but slipped to second place in Total Viewers, averaging 4.45 million. An additional 938,000 total viewers watched rebroadcasts on NBC and MSNBC,

The New York market had a partial preemption due to special report for  Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s daily coronavirus press briefing.

ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos took third place across the board this past Sunday, though it came very close to beat CBS in A25-54.

Despite that 3rd place finish this past Sunday, ABC’s Sunday public affairs show posted double digits increases from the year-ago Sunday in both Total Viewers (+58% – 4.168 million vs. 2.646 million) and Adults 25-54 (+82% – 1.073 million vs. 591,000) for the 4th consecutive Sunday.

Season to date, This Week is improving in both Total Viewers (+1% – 3.006 million vs. 2.973 million) and Adults 25-54 (+2% – 713,000 vs. 697,000) versus its year-ago season averages.

The Fox broadcast edition of Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace drew an impressive 2.04 million Total Viewers and 628,000 A25-54 viewers, the largest audience in both categories since Dec. 11, 2016 when Wallace presented an interview with then-President Elect Trump. The cable replays drew a combined 3.36 million Total Viewers and 780,000 million demo viewers. Combined with the broadcast edition, that’s 5.4 million Total Viewers and 1.5 million demo viewers on April 5.

The broadcast included interviews with Bill Gates, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Compared to the same Sunday in 2019, all of the Sunday shows were up double-digit percent in both Total Viewers and Adults 25-54.

Compared to the previous Sunday, March 29, the trend was a bit different. Meet the Press was -8% in Total Viewers. Despite winning the demo, the broadcast was -12%. Face the Nation, on the other hand, was +8% in Total Viewers and +4% in the demo from the prior Sunday. This Week didn’t change much: Flat in Total Viewers, but -1% in the demo. Fox News Sunday, on the other hand, had a great week: +9% in Total Viewers and +13% in the demo from the prior Sunday.

The original Nielsen numbers for April 5, 2020:

Network Program Total Viewers A25-54
CBS Face the Nation (1/2 hr) 5,030,000 1,106,000
NBC Meet the Press 4,445,000 1,176,000
ABC This Week 4,168,000 1,073,000
FOX Fox News Sunday 2,044,000 628,000

Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI (Total Viewers and Adults 25-54); Live + SD for 4/5/20, and 4/7/19 or as dated. Most Current: 2019 -2020 Season (9/23/19 – 4/5/20) and 2018 -2019 Season (9/24/19 – 4/7/19). Most Averages based on regular telecasts.

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