Each Sunday Public Affairs Show Delivered Audience Growth in 2015-2016

By A.J. Katz 

Sunday-AM-Anchors_061015_640Each Sunday public affairs show delivered more total and A25-54 viewers in the 2015-2016 broadcast season than in 2014-2015. It’s pretty safe to say that the election had something to do with that. Per Nielsen Media Research, CBS’s Face the Nation with John Dickerson was the most-watched Sunday public affairs show for the fourth consecutive season, while NBC’s Meet the Press with Chuck Todd finished No. 1 in the news demo after finishing No. 3 in 2014-2015.

In Dickerson’s first year as anchor, FTN improved 11 percent in total viewers and improved 6 percent in A25-54 from the 2014-2015 season. Overall, the program delivered its largest total audience in 28 years.

MTP delivered its largest total audience since the 2008-2009 season. The program improved 25 percent in total viewers and 26 percent in the news demo from the 2014-2015 season. That’s the largest year-over-year growth of any Sunday show.


Fox News Sunday had a strong season, delivering an 18 percent improvement in total viewers and a 15 percent improvement in the news demo from the 2014-2015 season.

Univision’s Al Punto delivered year-over-year growth in the 2015-2016 season in total viewers (+8 percent), A18-34 (+14 percent), A18-49 (+3 percent) and A25-54 (+8 percent). The program beat Fox News Sunday in the younger A18-34 demographic (119,000 vs. 107,000).

ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos fell from No. 1 to No. 2 in the news demo this season. That said, it still delivered growth from 2014-2015, both in the demo (+5.5 percent) and in total viewers (+13 percent). This Week drew its largest overall audience in 17 years (since the 1998-99 broadcast season).

For September 18, This Week ranked as the No. 1 Sunday public affairs program in the key demo and the No. 2 program in total viewers. The program improved on the same Sunday last year in both total viewers (+10.5 percent) and the A25-54 demo (+3 percent).

Face the Nation was the No. 1 Sunday show of the week in total viewers, up 5 percent from the same week last year. The show also improved 3 percent in the news demo year-over-year.

Meet the Press rose 8 percent in total viewers and +5 percent in the key demo from the same Sunday last year.

Fox News Sunday delivered the most year-over-year growth in the key demo this past Sunday (+28 percent). The George Clooney effect? The program also grew 9 percent in total viewers from the same Sunday in 2015. The cable replays delivered 3,092,000 total viewers and 639,000 from the demo for the 2 p.m. ET, 10 p.m. ET and 2 a.m. ET. Altogether, the Sept. 18 edition of Fox News Sunday delivered 4.51 million total viewers with 1.1 million hailing from the A25-54 demo.

Al Punto increased its audience this past Sunday from the comparable Sunday last year, and defeated Fox News Sunday in A18-34 and A18-49 viewers.

*Face the Nation’s second half-hour was broadcast contiguously across 58.7% of the CBS affiliates.

The numbers for 2015-16 Season:

Network Program Total Viewers A25-54
CBS Face the Nation 3.65 M 904,000
NBC Meet the Press 3.57 M 1.02 M
ABC This Week 3.21 M 926,000
FOX Fox News Sunday 1.53 M 459,000
UNIV Al Punto*  769,000  354,000

The numbers for September 18 :

Network Program Total Viewers A25-54
CBS Face the Nation 3.36 M 902,000
NBC Meet the Press 3.18 M 871,000
ABC This Week 3.19 M 907,000
FOX Fox News Sunday 1.41 M 453,000
UNIV Al Punto 885,000  432,000