Fox News Sunday: The Most Quoted Show

By Brian 

Washington D.C. is the most important market for the Sunday morning talk shows. The broadcasts set the political agenda for the week ahead, and many of the key viewers are located around the nation’s capital.

So ABC’s decision to move This Week to 10am, effective last Sunday, was interesting for a number of reasons. The move put This Week up against Meet the Press on NBC and Face the Nation on CBS. So why’d ABC make the move? Could it be because the show was being clobbered by Fox News Sunday?

In 2006, when the ABC and Fox Sunday shows were head-to-head, Fox News Sunday averaged a 1.6 household rating in DC, compared to a 1.3 for This Week. In fact, Fox had beaten ABC for 11 consecutive weeks in DC, ever since Nov. 5. (Meet the Press was easily #1, and Face the Nation was #2.)

Additionally, Fox News Sunday is the most quoted Sunday show, according to a Factiva search. In the past, Meet The Press was the unchallenged leader when it came to media mentions, but in 2006, for the first time, FNS led the pack. A count of six major papers (LAT, NYT, WSJ, WP, WT, USAT) mentioning a specific week’s program shows 200 mentions of FNS in 200, compared to 178 for ABC, 148 for CNN, 146 for NBC, and 128 for CBS…

> Update:7:40pm: It’s important to clarify that this measurement is narrowly tailored to mentions of the previous week’s show in the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday editions of the papers listed. It counts news-related mentions, not all generic show mentions.

A Factiva search over the past year, with all sources included, shows 8,520 mentions of Meet the Press, 4,867 mentions of Fox News Sunday, 4,170 mentions of Face the Nation, and 775 mentions of This Week.

> Update: 7:46pm: An e-mailer writes: “I wonder how much this reflects the quotability of the Wallace show in general, and how much reflects the massive coverage generated by just one show, his exchange with Bill Clinton.”