Sunday Show Wrap-Up: Meet the Press, Face the Nation Win Key Categories in Q1

By A.J. Katz 

It was a strong quarter for the Sunday public affairs programs, with each delivering a year-over-year improvement in total viewers. Gotta love presidential elections!

CBS Face the Nation was No. 1 in total viewers for the first quarter of 2016, averaging just under 4.1 million. This is the fourth consecutive quarter that the program won the Sunday morning race in terms of average total viewers. The 4.1 million average represents the largest first quarter audience the program has delivered since the advent of the Nielsen People Meter back in 1987.

FTN was up +15 percent in total viewers (3.55 million) and +13 percent in adults 25-54 compared to the first quarter of 2015. The program finished No. 2 in the adults 25-54 demographic.


NBC’s Sunday public affairs show, Meet the Press with Chuck Todd finished the quarter No. 1 in the ever-important adults 25-54 demographic. The program averaged over 1.1 million total viewers in the demo, the best quarter delivery in the demo for the program in seven years (Q1 2009). MTP also won the 18-49 demo.

Meet the Press moved up +32 percent in the demo and +27 percent in total viewers versus Q1 of 2015. Needless to say, Meet the Press has come a long way since finishing No. 3 in the demo at this point last year.

ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos averaged over 3.4 million total viewers and 1 million adults 25-54 during the first quarter of 2016. Despite a third place finish, the program managed to improve year-over-year, moving up +10 percent in adults 25-54 and +19 percent in total viewers. In fact, Q1 2016 was the program’s most-watched quarter in over 14 years.

Fox News Sunday on Fox Broadcast also thrived this past quarter, averaging almost 1.7 million total viewers. That’s a +28 percent improvement year-over-year (it averaged 1.3 million viewers in Q1 ’15). The program averaged 521,000 viewers in the 25-54 demo, a +23 percent improvement year-over-year (averaged 425,000 in Q1 ’15). FNS is in the midst of its most-watched year in program history.

*Note: Face the Nation numbers are based on the first half-hour only, as the full contiguous hour aired in just 57.83% of the country.

First Quarter, 2016 Overview (Live+Same Day Data)

Total Viewers (000) A25-54 Viewers (000) A18-49 Viewers (000)
Meet the Press 3842 1144 831
Face the Nation 4052 1094 754
This Week 3448 1002 692
Fox News Sunday (FOX Broadcast) 1688 521 393
Al Punto