May 2 Sunday Show Ratings: Face the Nation Is Most-Watched, Meet the Press Is Tops Among Adults 25-54

By A.J. Katz 

CBS Face the Nation and NBC Meet the Press split first place in the Sunday show ratings race for May 2, 2021.

Moderated by John Dickerson (sitting in for Margaret Brennan, who had just her second child!), Face the Nation averaged the most total viewers of any Sunday public affairs show on May 2, drawing an average of nearly 2.8 million. However, the broadcast drew just 467,000 adults 25-54, third-most among the Sunday shows.

Face the Nation is averaging the most total viewers of any Sunday show, season to-date.


The Chuck Todd-moderated Meet the Press averaged 561,000 adults 25-54, most among the Sunday shows, and 2.61 million total viewers, third-most among the Sunday shows.

Just 199,000 total viewers and 54,000 A25-54 viewers watched MTP through a linear rebroadcast on NBC. The network is also releasing digital numbers, including that the full May 2 episode has currently reached more than 480,000 views and 386,000 viewers.

Season-to-date, Meet the Press remains the No. 1 Sunday show among adults 25-54 for six straight years.

ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, which was the No. 1 Sunday show in all key categories the previous Sunday, finished second behind Face the Nation in total viewers  (2.62 million), and second behind Meet the Press among adults 25-54 (546,000) on May 2.  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 a paltry 927,000 total viewers and 253,000 A25-54 viewers. The cable replays delivered a combined 1 million total viewers and 168,000 A25-54 viewers. Altogether, that’s roughly 1.9 million total and 421,000 A25-54 demo viewers.

Compared with the prior Sunday (April 25), the shows trended poorly. Face the Nation fell -5% in total viewers and -2% in the demo. Meet the Press also fell -5% in total viewers, and -7% in the demo. After that strong April 25, This Week fell -13% in total viewers, and -13 % in the demo, while Fox News Sunday shed -18% in total viewers, and -17% in A25-54 demo viewers.

Compared with the year-ago Sunday, the trend was even worse. Face the Nation lost one-quarter of its total audience (-25%) and was down -41% among adults 25-54. MTP was down nearly one-third in total viewers (-32%) and dropped -34% in demo viewership. This Week was down by just -9% in total viewers, and -12% in the demo, while FNS shed -39% of its average total audience on May 3, 2020, and -36% in the demo.

May 2, 2021 Sunday Show Ratings (Nielsen live + same-day):

Network Program Total Viewers A25-54
CBS Face the Nation (1/2 hr) 2,760,000 467,000
ABC  This Week 2,620,000 546,000
NBC Meet the Press 2,610,000 561,000
FOX Fox News Sunday 927,000 253,000

Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI (Total Viewers and Adults 25-54); Live + SD for 5/2/21, 4/25/21 and 5/4/20 or as dated. Most Current: 2020 -2021 Season (9/21/20 – 5/2/21) and 2019 -2020 Season (9/23/19 – 5/4/20). *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.