After enjoying the Obama Bump and the looky-loos curious to see the new anchor, Chuck Todd’s Meet The Press tumbled 13% in viewers and 19% in the news demo in its second week, falling from first place back to third.
In total viewers, the show dropped from previous week’s winning 2.991 million, to 2.589 million, behind CBS’ Face The Nation with 3.054 million viewers, followed by ABC’s This Week with 2.889 million. In demo viewers, MTP plunged to 668,000 viewers – creating quite a gap between it and from This Week’s winning 947,000 and Face The Nation’s 913,000. It was This Week’s largest new demo lead over MTP in six months.
Todd’s second week in the saddle clocked smaller numbers than the comparable Sunday one year ago (2.636 total viewers and 726,000 demo viewers). Meanwhile, the other Sunday Beltway shows were all up, year to year, in both metrics. NBC News, however, noted Todd’s second week as moderator came in 7% ahead of the MTP 3Q’14-to-date average in overall crowd size. In the walk-up to his debut, Todd had advised press covering his debut that NBC News brass reminded him that it took the show’s longtime host Tim Russert six years to go from No. 3 to No. 1, and Tom Brokaw took even longer to grow Nightly News ratings to first-place status — a bit of guidance that serves not only to manage expectations, but gets his new MTP gig mentioned in the company of those NBC News heavyweights.
Meet The Press was the only program that finished behind the previous week in both total viewers and the news demo. Fox News Sunday fell 4% in total viewers, to 1.267; Fox News Sunday grew in the news demo, however, by 18%, to 419,000.
One week earlier, Todd’s debut as host of NBC’s Sunday Beltway show Meet The Press was a ratings and a critical success. The program averaged its biggest audience since March 2, making a big jump from the previous Sunday’s 2.437 million viewers with a fill-in anchor. The last time ousted host David Gregory sat in the chair, the show had logged an average of 2.429M.
In news demo viewers, Todd’s debut featuring a sitdown with President Obama, averaged 804,000 viewers — a big spike from the previous week’s 684,000. Todd’s competition: Face The Nation 768,000; This Week 763,000; Fox News Sunday 438,000.
Todd also got high marks from various media outlets for his initial performance — especially the part where he showed Obama a scrap of paper on which he’d written a checklist of promises POTUS had made and ticked off those he had fulfilled, securing Todd’s image tightly to that of the show’s iconic host Tim Russert — who famously used an old-school whiteboard to calculate electoral college outcomes for NBC during the controversial 2000 presidential election, memorably concluding it would all come down to “Florida, Florida, Florida” — a low-tech incident that was inducted into the 100 Greatest Moments in TV History by TV Guide and the whiteboard itself was sent to the Smithsonian.