After hitting a rough ratings patch, television’s longest-running program — NBC’s “Meet the Press” — seems to have turned a corner and ended the season on a high note.
The Sunday morning public affairs show, which has been moderated by Chuck Todd since last September, posted nice year-over-year ratings gains for the May sweep. According to Nielsen “live plus same-day” estimates, it shot up 31% in adults 25-54 (to 826,000) and 11% in total viewers (to 2.61 million). These were the NBC program’s top May sweep averages in three years.
“Meet the Press” still finished in third place, but was competitive with both CBS’ “Face the Nation” (891,000 adults 25-54 and 3.24 million viewers overall for its nationally-distributed first half-hour) and ABC’s “This Week” (881,000 adults 25-54 and 2.63 million viewers overall).
And though the 25-54 demo is the one most closely watched in the news business, “Meet the Press” could claim victory in the younger-adult demo of adults 18-49. It averaged 623,000 adults under 50, followed by 584,000 for “This Week” and 563,000 for the first half-hour of “Face the Nation.”
“Meet the Press” was also the clear choice among viewers in the important Washington, D.C. market, with its 82,000 viewers on average during the sweep putting it well ahead of runner-up “Fox News Sunday” (46,000), CBS’ “Face the Nation” (39,000) and ABC’s “This Week” (27,000). And in adults 25-54, its 30,000 was about what the competition drew combined.
For its part, ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” turned in its first back-to-back May sweep victories over “Meet the Press” since 1995-96 in total viewers and since 1992-93 in adults 25-54. It was up about 15% in adults 25-54 for its largest demo audience in nine years.
And “Face the Nation,” whose longtime moderator Bob Schieffer is retiring after this Sunday’s edition, just finished its most-watched season on record.