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‘Press’ meets more success

Russert show tops 'Nation,' 'Week'

HOLLYWOOD — NBC’s Sunday morning locomotive “Meet the Press” opened up some distance over its rivals in the first quarter of the year, which also saw CBS’ “Face the Nation” improve its standing. ABC’s “This Week” continues to trend downward.

According to Nielsen figures for the first three months of 2003, the Tim Russert-hosted “Meet the Press” delivered its best numbers for a quarter in both adults 25-54 (1.8 rating) and total viewers (5.21 million).

In overall audience, “Press” topped second-place “Face the Nation” (3.24 million) by 61%, ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” (2.96m) by 76% and Fox’s “News Sunday” (1.87m) by 178%.

Compared with the first quarter last year, “Meet the Press” expanded its audience by 10%, CBS by 4% and Fox by 26%. ABC was the only Sunday morning public affairs program to lose viewers, declining by 9% from when its show was called “This Week With Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts.”

As for “Face the Nation,” it delivered its largest aud for a first quarter since 1994. Season-to-date, the second-place CBS program is ahead of ABC in adults 25-54 (0.9 vs. 0.8) and total viewers (2.96m vs. 2.84m).

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