Meet the Press Wins February Sweeps Period

By A.J. Katz Comment

NBC’s Meet the Press was the No. 1 Sunday show during February sweeps period, per data from Nielsen.

This marks the fourth consecutive year MTP has won a February sweep among Total Viewers, and the 5th straight year MTP has won the February sweep in Adults 25-54, the demo most valued by news advertisers.

By winning Feb. 2020, the Chuck Todd-moderated program has ranked No. 1 among the Sunday public affairs shows for 7 straight months.

An average of 3.120 million total viewers tuned into the broadcast during the February sweep: +7% than its CBS competition (+204,000) and +11% more than its ABC competition (+318,000).

An average of 714,000 A25-54 demo viewers tuned into MTP during the February sweep: +8% more than ABC and +23% (+133,000) more than CBS.

CBS’ Face the Nation with Margaret Brennan and ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos split 2nd place honors. CBS averaged a larger total audience (2.92 million), but ABC averaged more demo viewers during February sweep period (661,000).

Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace averaged 1.3 million viewers and 359,000 demo viewers on Fox. Combine that with the 3 cable replays, the program averaged 4.1 million total and 805,000 demo viewers. That’s +8% in viewers and +1% in demo viewers vs. the combined network and cable total in Feb. 2019. However, as we’ll show below, the Fox network audience is down year-over-year.

Compared to the same sweeps period in 2019, ratings were down for each of the 4 English language shows which aired on broadcast. MTP was -15% in Total Viewers, and -22% in A25-54 viewers. FTN was -16% in Total Viewers and -24% in demo viewers. ABC shed the smallest percentage of viewers from the prior February, -8% in Total Viewers and -9% in demo viewers. Fox News Sunday on Fox was -12% in Total Viewers and -11% in demo viewers.

The Nielsen numbers for Feb. 2020 Sweeps:

Network Program Total Viewers A25-54
NBC Meet the Press 3,120,000 714,000
CBS Face the Nation (1/2 hr) 2,916,000 581,000
ABC This Week 2,802,000 661,000
FOX Fox News Sunday 1,288,000 359,000

NBC and ABC split the Sunday show ratings race on Feb. 23, per data from Nielsen.

Meet the Press with Chuck Todd finished No. 1 in Total Viewers, despite delivering just 2.95 million overall.

The 2.95 million is actually +3% more than CBS (+81,000), and +5% more than ABC (141,000).

This Week with George Stephanopoulos finished No. 1 in Adults 25-54, averaging 713,000. That’s +158,000 demo viewers more than CBS, and +20,000 more than NBC.

Season to date, This Week is giving both of its competitors a strong fight this season to-date. It leads CBS in Adults 25-54, and is as close to CBS in Total Viewers it has been in 10 years.

This Week is also closing the gap with NBC in both Total Viewers by 25% and Adults 25-54 by 52%, seeing its most narrow A25-54 margin in 4 years. However, the “gap narrowing” is more due to the fact that the program is shedding a smaller percentage of its audience compared to its competitors, and less about any sort of ratings growth.

CBS’ Face the Nation with Margaret Brennan finished behind NBC and ABC in the key demo, but remained ahead of ABC in Total Viewers, both on Feb. 23 and for February 2020 sweeps.

Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace delivered 1.23 million viewers and 346,000 demo viewers on Fox. The trio of cable replays delivered 2.63 million viewers and 414,000 demo viewers. Altogether, that’s 3.59 million and 760,000 A25-54.

Compared to the same Sunday in 2019, ratings were low, once again. MTP was -16% in Total Viewers and -14% in demo viewers. Face the Nation was -15% in Total Viewers and -22% in demo viewers. This Week was just -5% in Total Viewers and -5% in demo viewers. Fox News Sunday was -16% in Total Viwers and -12% in demo viewers.

The Nielsen numbers for Feb. 23 2020:

Network Program Total Viewers A25-54
NBC Meet the Press 2,951,000 693,000
CBS Face the Nation (1/2 hr) 2,870,000 555,000
ABC This Week 2,810,000 713,000
FOX Fox News Sunday 1,231,000 346,000


Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI (Total Viewers and Adults 25-54); Live + SD for 2/23/20, and 2/24/19 or as dated. Most Current: 2019 -2020 Season (9/23/19 – 2/23/20) and 2018 -2019 Season (9/24/19 – 2/24/19). Averages based on regular telecasts.

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