CBS, ABC Split First Place in Sunday Show Ratings; This Week Posts Largest Total Audience Since August

By A.J. Katz 

CBS Face the Nation with Margaret Brennan was the most-watched Sunday show on Dec. 12, 2021, while ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos averaged the most adults 25-54.

As per live-plus-same-day data from Nielsen, Face the Nation (half-hour) averaged 3.09 million total viewers this past Sunday. FTN is the most-watched Sunday show, season-to-date, for the second consecutive year. However, the program continues to skew older than the Sunday competition and finished second this past Sunday among adults 25-54 (607,000), just -1,000 fewer viewers than ABC, and +122,000 more than NBC.

ABC’s This Week finished Sunday No. 2 in total viewers (2.915 million) and remained No. 1 among adults 25-54 (608,000), marking three consecutive weeks that the program has out-performed CBS, NBC and Fox in the ad-friendly A25-54 measurement.


The 2.915 million total viewer count represents the largest audience for a broadcast of This Week since the Aug. 29 edition.

Season to date, This Week is No.1 among adults 25-54 (558,000), leading Face the Nation (522,000) and Meet the Press (518,000).  In fact, the ABC Sunday show hasn’t been No. 1 in the demo this late in a broadcast season since 2015-2016. This Week is also leading MTP in Total Viewers (2.635 million vs. 2.56 million) season to date for the first time since the 2014-2015 season.

NBC’s Meet the Press with Chuck Todd averaged 2.59 million total viewers and 485,000 adults 25-54 on Dec. 5. The longest-running show on television once again finished No. 3 in the Sunday show ratings race, both in total viewers and among adults 25-54.

The final broadcast Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace averaged 1.11 million total viewers and 266,000 A25-54 viewers on Fox Broadcasting. The 2 p.m. cable replay delivered 740,000 total viewers and 99,000 adults 25-54. Combined with the first-run broadcast, that’s roughly 1.85 million total viewers and 365,000 adults 25-54 on Dec. 12.

Face the Nation gained +10% in average total viewers and +10% in adults 25-54 from the previous Sunday (Dec. 5). ABC’s This Week saw the most week-to-week growth in total viewers (+16%) and also improved by +7% in adults 25-54. Meet the Press shed -2% of total viewers and -13% adults 25-54 from the prior Sunday, while Fox News Sunday lost -4% of its average total viewers and -3% among adults 25-54 from the prior Sunday.

Dec. 12, 2021 Sunday Show Ratings (Nielsen live + same-day):

Network Program Total Viewers A25-54
CBS Face the Nation (1/2 hr) 3,091,000 607,000
ABC This Week 2,915,000 608,000
NBC Meet the Press 2,591,000 485,000
FOX Fox News Sunday 1,109,000 266,000


Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI (Total Viewers and Adults 25-54); Live + SD for 12/12/21, 12/5/21 and 12/13/20 or as dated. Most Current: 2021 -2022 Season (9/20 – 12/12/21 and 2020 -2021 Season (9/21 – 12/13/20). *Beginning 8/31/20, National ratings also include Out of Home (OOH) viewing. Prior to 8/31/20, ratings do not include OOH viewing. Nielsen ratings for “This Week” include additional airings in select markets. Averages based on regular telecasts.