‘Face the Nation’ Expanding to One Hour

By Chris Ariens 

CBS’s Sunday morning public affairs show “Face the Nation” is expanding from a half hour to one hour in April. Bob Schieffer made the announcement on his show this morning. “I can’t remember when I’ve been happier to break a story than I am to tell you this,” Schieffer began, adding that the expansion, “is happening because more and more of you have been turning to ‘Face the Nation’ during this campaign season so we thank you.”

CBS and NBC’s “Meet the Press” have been jostling for control of first place this season in both total viewers and the key news demo. In fact, “Face” has topped “Meet” more often than not in both categories over the last few months. NBC, ABC and FOX all produce one-hour Sunday morning shows, making the ratings comparison to “Face” slightly imperfect. Gaining any time, even just a half hour, from local stations is not an easy task but it was something executives, including CBS News chairman Jeff Fager, made a priority. CBS will make the official announcement tomorrow. On many CBS stations the program following “Face” is the syndicated long-running “McLaughlin Group”, which until a few years ago had been produced at NBC’s Washington studios and aired on many NBC affiliates.

“We don’t plan to change a thing, no bells and whistles,” said Schieffer. “We’ll just keep sitting the key news makers down, turning on the lights and asking them questions and then we’ll bring in the experts from in and outside CBS News for analysis. We’ll just have more time to do it.”