May 9 Sunday Show Ratings: Face the Nation Remains Most-Watched, Grows From Prior Sunday

By A.J. Katz 

CBS Face the Nation and NBC Meet the Press split first place in the Sunday show ratings race for May 9, 2021.

Moderated by John Dickerson (sitting in for Margaret Brennan, who’s on maternity leave) Face the Nation averaged the most total viewers of any Sunday public affairs show on May 9, drawing an average of 2.95 million total viewers. However, the broadcast drew just 472,000 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 538,000 adults 25-54, most among the Sunday shows, and nearly 2.7 million total viewers, second-most among the Sunday shows.

An additional 264,000 viewers and 80,000 A25-54 viewers watched MTP through a linear rebroadcast on NBC. The network is also releasing digital numbers, including that the full May 9 episode has currently reached 488,000 viewers, which is +26% week over week.

Meet the Press has been the No. 1 Sunday show among adults 25-54 for six straight years.

ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos dropped to third place in total viewers behind Face the Nation and Meet the Press (averaging nearly 2.6 million), but remained second behind Meet the Press and ahead of Face the Nation among adults 25-54 (averaging 510,000) on May 9.

This Week is in the midst of its most-watched season in 4 years – since the 2016-17 season.

On Fox Broadcasting, Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace averaged 1 million total viewers and 305,000 A25-54 viewers. The cable replays delivered a combined 1 million total viewers and 178,000 A25-54 viewers. Altogether, that’s 2 million total and 483,000 A25-54 demo viewers.

Compared to the prior Sunday (May 2) , the shows trended relatively well. Face the Nation improved the most: +7% in total viewers and +1% in the A25-54 demo. Meet the Press also improved +3% in total viewers, but fell -4% in the demo. This Week fell -1% in total viewers, and -7% in the demo. After a rough May 2, Fox News Sunday grew +10% in total viewers, and +21% in the A25-54 demo.

Compared with the year-ago Sunday (May 10, 2020), the trend was worse, as expected in a non-election year. Face the Nation lost -22% of its average total audience, and was down -32% among adults 25-54. MTP was down -30% in total viewers, and dropped -35% in A25-54 demo viewership. This Week was down by -15% in total viewers, and -22% in the demo, while FNS shed -29% of its average total audience vs. May 10, 2020, and was -20% in the demo.

May 9, 2021 Sunday Show Ratings (Nielsen live + same-day):

Network Program Total Viewers A25-54
CBS Face the Nation (1/2 hr) 2,945,000 472,000
NBC Meet the Press 2,687,000 538,000
ABC This Week 2,591,000 510,000
FOX Fox News Sunday 1,018,000 305,000

Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI (Total Viewers and Adults 25-54); Live + SD for 5/9/21, 5/2/21 and 5/11/20 or as dated. Most Current: 2020 -2021 Season (9/21/20 – 5/9/21) and 2019 -2020 Season (9/23/19 – 5/11/20). *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 include additional airings in select markets. Averages based on regular telecasts.