Sunday Show Ratings: July 22 and July 2018 Sweep

By A.J. Katz Comment

With Meet the Press sidelined due to NBC Sports’ final round coverage of The Open Championship, CBS’s Face the Nation moved to No. 1 in total viewers, while ABC’s This Week moved to No. 1 in the key A25-54 demo this past Sunday.

Meet the Press was preempted on the same Sunday in 2017 also due to golf.

Moderated by Margaret Brennan, Face the Nation was +2 percent in total viewers and +5 percent in the key A25-54 demo this past week vs. the same Sunday in 2017 .

The broadcast included interviews with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), and a joint interview with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Democratic congressional nominee Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, which taped on Friday in Wichita, Kansas.

Anchored by George Stephanopoulos, ABC’s This Week delivered its best ratings in two months. In addition, the ABC public affairs program extended its A25-54 lead over Face the Nation by +68,000 viewers, which is This Week’s largest lead over CBS in the category since the 1999-2000 broadcast season.

But unlike its rival on CBS, This Week was down in viewers vs. the same Sunday in 2017. The program was -8 percent in total viewers, and -7 percent in the demo.

Bret Baier filled in for Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday this past week. Wallace was vacationing in Russia. The program was -8 percent in total viewers and -6 percent in the A25-54 demo vs. the same Sunday last year. The cable replays delivered 2.41 million total viewers and 436,000 demo viewers. Combined with the original FOX broadcast, the July 22 edition of FNS had 3.77 million total viewers and 850,000 A25-54 demo viewers.

The numbers for July 22, 2018:

Network Program Total Viewers A25-54
CBS Face the Nation 3,192,000 687,000
ABC This Week 2,962,000 811,000
FOX Fox News Sunday 1,361,000 414,000
NBC Meet the Press N/A N/A

*Meet the Press was pre-empted this past Sunday due to NBC Sports’ coverage of The Open Championship.

NBC News led its Sunday show press release with the cheeky headline of: “If It’s July Sweeps, It’s Meet the Press with Chuck Todd.” That’s indeed true for July 2018, because Meet the Press was No. 1 across-the-board in the ratings race.

In total viewers (of which they were 2.9 million on overage), July 2018 is the 3rd consecutive sweeps in which MTP has beat CBS and the 11th straight sweeps in which the broadcast has beat ABC – its best streak in more than 6 years (since February 2012).

An average of 746,000 A25-54 demo viewers – the audience most valued by TV news advertisers – tuned into MTP during July 2018 Sweeps: +104,000 (+16 percent) more than ABC and +176,000 (+31 percent) more than CBS. This marks the 11th straight sweep in which MTP is No.1 in the key demo, its best streak in more than 9 years (since May 2009).

But not all was merry for Meet the Press. Despite its No. 1 finish, the broadcast was -3 percent in total viewers, and -15 percent among adults 25-54 vs. July 2017 sweeps. No Sunday show experienced a more significant year-over-year drop off among A25-54 viewers.

Face the Nation took second place in total viewers, but finished third among adults 25-54. The Margaret Brennan-moderated program was -8 percent in total viewers, and -12 percent in A25-54 vs. July 2017 sweeps.

For the 2018 July Sweep, ABC’s This Week drew 2.6 million and 645,000 A25-54 viewers, based on most current data from Nielsen.  This Week outperformed Face the Nation in A25-54 by +70,000 viewers. It’s the 4th consecutive July ABC has defeated CBS in the demo, and the 5th consecutive sweeps period it has done so. But the program was -9 percent in total viewers, and -14 percent in the key A25-54 demo vs. its July 2017 sweeps performance.

Fox News Sunday hosted by Chris Wallace was flat in total viewers and -3 percent in the key A25-54 vs. its July 2017 Sweeps performance.

The numbers for July 2018 Sweeps:

Network Program Total Viewers A25-54
NBC Meet The Press 2,920,000 759,000
CBS Face the Nation (1/2 hr) 2,759,000 575,000
ABC This Week 2,602,000 645,000
FOX Fox News Sunday 1,246,000 363,000

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