Meet the Press, Face the Nation Split Sunday Show Ratings Honors for Q4 2020

By A.J. Katz 

NBC’s Meet the Press with Chuck Todd was the top-rated Sunday show among adults 25-54 for the 4th quarter of 2020, while CBS’ Face the Nation with Margaret Brennan averaged the most total viewers.

MTP marked 20 straight quarters as the No. 1 Sunday show in the key A25-54 demo. According to most current data from Nielsen, Meet the Press averaged 788,000 adults 25-54 in Q4 2020, more than any other Sunday public affairs program during the final quarter of the calendar year.

Driven a busy news political news cycle—presidential election and an ongoing pandemic—the broadcast was +9% in total viewers and +4% among adults 25-54 vs. Q4 of 2019.


CBS’ Face the Nation with Margaret Brennan was the most-watched Sunday show for the 2nd consecutive quarter, averaging nearly 3.7 million total viewers in Q4 2020. It beat Meet the Press by its largest margin in total viewers since the 4th quarter of 2017. Face the Nation was also the most-watched Sunday show for the full calendar year (although it chose to re-title and decide not to rate more of its broadcasts than its competitors did in 2020).

While Face the Nation finished No. 1 in total viewers during Q4, it came in third in the key A25-54 demo, averaging 719,000 viewers from that measurement for the quarter.

Similar to MTP, FTN gained viewers vs. last year, +21% in total viewers and +12% in the key demo.

ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos finished in second place among the Sunday shows in adults 25-54, edging its CBS Sunday public affairs competition by just +3,000 viewers during the 4th quarter for the 2nd year in a row and for the 5th time in the last 6 years.

Despite finishing the quarter as the No. 3 Sunday public affairs show in total viewers, behind NBC and CBS, ABC’s This Week was able to average its largest overall quarter audience in nearly 4 years – since Q1 2017.

The Sunday broadcast was up +23% in total viewers and +12% among adults 25-54 vs. Q3 2019.

For 4Q 2020, Fox News Sunday hosted by Chris Wallace 1.4 million in total viewers and 385,000 in the 25-54 demographic on Fox TV.  That’s +4% in total viewers but -3% in the key A25-54 demo vs. Q4 2019.

Here are the numbers for Q4 2020:

Network Program Total Viewers A25-54
NBC Meet the Press  3,676,000 778,000
CBS Face the Nation (1/2 hr) 3,552,000 719,000
ABC This Week 3,400,000 722,000
FOX Fox News Sunday 1,420,000 385,000

Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI (Total Viewers and Adults 25-54); Most Current – 4Q20 (9/21 – 12/27/20), 4Q19 (9/23 – 12/29/19). *Beginning 8/31/20, national ratings also include Out of Home (OOH) viewing. Prior to 8/31/20, ratings do not include OOH viewing. Averages based on regular telecasts.