NBC, Russert press advantage over foes

'Meet' ends season with advantages over 'Nation,' 'Week'

NBC’s Sunday morning gabber “Meet the Press With Tim Russert” drowned out the competish during the just-concluded TV season, posting its second largest audience ever.

According to Nielsen Media Research, “Meet the Press” ended the season with a 58% advantage over CBS’ “Face the Nation” and a 66% over ABC’s “This Week.” Season ran Sept. 23, 2002 to Sept. 21, 2003.

NBC show averaged 4.29 million total viewers; CBS, 2.72 million; and ABC, 2.59 million.

“Face the Nation” was happy as well with its showing, having ended the season by taking the No. 2 spot away from “This Week.”

Hoping to win viewers back, ABC News debuted a redesigned “This Week” on Sept. 14. Ratings were up for the premiere, with the show beating out “Face the Nation.”

Returns to No. 2

Last week, however, “Face the Nation” returned to No. 2 in ratings. ABC News defended the show’s performance by saying that due to sports events, “This Week” was preempted in multiple markets.

Execs at CBS and NBC responded to this argument by saying that all the nets face schedule disruptions at some point or other.

In other fringe ratings reports for the 2002-2003 TV season, ABC News said “Good Morning America” posted its strongest viewership in a decade — even though NBC’s “Today” continues to dominate overall. “GMA” also pointed out that it finished within 1 million viewers of “Today” in the key demo of adults 25-54 for the first time since the 1996-97 season.

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