With Amanpour Settling In, NBC Feels Out the State of the Sunday Shows

By Alex Weprin 

NBC News, through market research firm Vision Critical, has put out a survey asking consumers about the Sunday morning public affairs shows, with a particular focus on “Meet the Press” and ABC’s “This Week,” according to a copy obtained by TVNewser.

There were a number of questions about the two programs, covering everything from the perceived ideology of the hosts David Gregory and Christiane Amanpour, to the makeup of guests on the programs. Other questions asked about the pace of the two shows, and the humor of Amanpour and Gregory. Apparently CBS’ “Face the Nation” and Fox’s “Fox News Sunday” did not make the cut, as they did not get singled out for questions.

With regard to “Meet the Press,” the “roundtable” portion of the program seems to be of particular interest to the network.

The survey asks whether respondents prefer the roundtable portion of the show or the newsmaker interview portion, and then asks about the composition of guests on the roundtable.

It also lists 18 people who are either regulars on the roundtable, or semi-regulars, and asks respondents to rate them on their appearances. Among the names:

NBC’a Andrea Mitchell and Chuck Todd, MSNBC Rachel Maddow, and CNBC’s Erin Burnett, along with other TV regulars Katty Kay, Tavis Smiley and Jon Meacham.

Other slides seem designed to test the knowledge and interest-level of respondents in the public affairs shows, asking whether they knew “Meet the Press” was now broadcast in HD. Another question listed the four Sunday morning shows, and asked respondents to pair each show with its anchor.

In addition to the four actual anchors of the programs, other names included in that question were Jake Tapper, George Stephanopoulos, Anderson Cooper, Brian Williams and Diane Sawyer.

All networks do some sort of market research, so it would be foolish to look too deeply into the questions being asked, but executives do take the surveys seriously, and the responses can have a real effect on their decision-making.