Here Are Sunday Show Ratings for the 2020-’21 TV Season

By A.J. Katz 

According to the most up-to-date live-plus-same-day numbers from Nielsen, CBS’ Face the Nation was the most-watched Sunday public affairs show for the 2020-’21 broadcast TV season, overtaking Meet the Press, which finished No. 1 across all key categories four consecutive seasons.

Face the Nation averaged 3.4 million total viewers and 625,000 adults 25-54 in 2020-’21. Regular moderator Margaret Brennan was out on maternity leave for part of the season, anchoring 63% of FTN broadcasts. John Dickerson anchored most of the remaining broadcasts for 2020-’21.

Despite being the most-watched Sunday show for the season, Face the Nation shed -1% in total viewers from the political news-heavy 2019-’20 TV season. The program also dropped from second to third among adults 25-54, dropping -11% in the measurement from 2019-’20.

NBC Meet the Press with Chuck Todd may have relinquished its status as “most-watched Sunday public affairs show” after four straight seasons, but it remains the standard when it comes to drawing adults 25-54, marking six consecutive seasons at No. 1 in the key demo. The program averaged 709,000 adults 25-54 (topping the competition by double digits) and 3.28 million total viewers in 2020-’21. That said, compared to the 2019-’20 season, MTP shed -6% in total viewers and -14% among adults 25-54 this season.

Moving over to ABC — during the 2020-’21 season, This Week with George Stephanopoulos finished No. 3 in total viewers behind CBS and NBC, but No. 2 in the key A25-54 demo ahead of NBC. In fact, This Week beat Face the Nation in the demo for the first time in 3 years – since the 2017-18 season, and despite finishing No. 3 in total viewers, This Week stood as the only public affairs show to grow its overall audience (+1%), doing so for the second consecutive season; however, it did lose adults 25-54 from 2019-’20 (-7%).

The Fox TV broadcast of Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace averaged 1.27 million total viewers and 335,000 adults 25-54 during the 2020-’21 season. That’s -11% in total viewers and -17% among adults 25-54 from what the show averaged in 2019-’20.

2020-’21 TV season ratings (Nielsen, live-plus-same-day):

Network Program Total Viewers A25-54
CBS Face the Nation (1/2 hr) 3,391,000 625,000
NBC Meet the Press 3,280,000 709,000
ABC This Week 3,052,000 645,000
FOX Fox News Sunday 1,279,000 335,000

Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI (Total Viewers and Adults 25-54). Most Current: 2020 -2021 Season (9/21/20 – 9/19/21) and 2019 -2020 Season (9/23/19 – 9/20/20). *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.

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