Feb. 28 Sunday Show Ratings: Face the Nation, Meet the Press Split First Place for 2nd Straight Week

By A.J. Katz 

For the second consecutive week, CBS Face the Nation and NBC Meet the Press split first place in the Sunday show ratings department.

Moderated by Margaret Brennan, Face the Nation averaged the most total viewers of any Sunday public affairs show on Feb. 28, drawing nearly 3.4 million total viewers, and 619,000 adults 25-54.

Face the Nation is the most-watched Sunday show season to-date.

The Chuck Todd-moderated Meet the Press averaged 664,000 adults 25-54, No. 1 overall, and nearly 3.3 million total viewers, second-most among the Sunday shows.

Just 248,000 total viewers and 94,000 A25-54 viewers watched MTP through a linear rebroadcast on NBC. The network is also releasing digital numbers, claiming that the full Feb. 28 episode earned 356,000 viewers via streaming.

Despite coming in second in total viewers the past two weeks, MTP is still the No. 1 Sunday show across the board for the month of February. This marks MTP’s 2nd consecutive monthly win across the board and 5th straight February win.

ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos finished third place in total viewers (3 million) and third place among adults 25-54 (559,000).  Despite this relatively low-rated Sunday, This Week is in the midst of its most-watched season in 4 years – since the 2016-17 season.

On Fox TV, Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace averaged 1.3 million total viewers and 309,000 A25-54 viewers. The cable replays delivered a combined 1.7 million total viewers and 270,000 A25-54 viewers. Altogether, that’s roughly 3 million total and 579,000 demo viewers.

Compared with the prior Sunday (Feb. 21), the shows trended poorly. Face the Nation fell -10% in total viewers and -10% in the demo. Meet the Press fell -13% in total viewers, and -10% in the demo. This Week fell -6% in total viewers but -22% in the demo, while Fox News Sunday held flat in total viewers, but fell -9% in demo viewers.

Compared with the year-ago Sunday, the trend was mixed, although the median age continues to grow. FTN grew +7% in total viewers but fell -2% in the key demo. MTP flat in total viewers and dropped a whopping -18% in demo viewership. This Week grew +8% in total viewers, but fell -22% in the demo, while FNS grew +10% in total viewers but fell -2% in the demo.

Americans under 55 are increasingly fleeing the Sunday morning shows. This was expected. Not only are younger Americans watching less linear TV in general, but they’re less likely to watch Sunday shows when there are no breaking news stories to cover. Plus, we’re moving further away from the “excitement” phase a new presidential administration traditionally brings.

Feb. 28, 2021 Sunday Show Ratings (Nielsen live + same-day):

Network Program Total Viewers A25-54
CBS Face the Nation (1/2 hr) 3,385,000 619,000
NBC Meet the Press 3,255,000 664,000
ABC This Week 3,018,000 559,000
FOX Fox News Sunday 1,277,000 309,000

Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI (Total Viewers and Adults 25-54); Live + SD for 2/28/21, 2/21/21 and 3/2/20 or as dated. Most Current: 2020 -2021 Season (9/21/20 – 2/28/21) and 2019 -2020 Season (9/23/19 – 3/2/20). National ratings also include Out of Home (OOH) viewing. Prior to 8/31/20, ratings did not include OOH viewing. Nielsen ratings for This Week include additional airings in select markets. Averages based on regular telecasts.

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