The Sunday cable news shows are a weekend staple among Washington D.C.’s movers and shakers, an audience that is jealously guarded by the top networks and coveted by those scrambling to catch up.
“Fox News Sunday’s” big D.C. win over NBC’s “Meet The Press” last Sunday is a big deal — and a possible sign that the Sunday news hierarchy is shifting.
Nielsen Media Research reports that Fox’s flagship Sunday program, headed by Chris Wallace, beat out “Meet The Press” in every Washington ratings category for the first time in nearly seven years.
107,000 people tuned in to watch Wallace, including 41,000 in the all-important 25 to 54 demographic. NBC’s David Gregory could only muster 73,000 viewers, with just 33,000 in the 25 to 54 age group.
The two shows extensively covered the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza, with both newscasters interviewing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Washington’s politicos and leading lawmakers apparently preferred Wallace’s interview and exposition of the crisis.
“Fox News Sunday” has slowly gained ground on “Meet The Press” throughout the year — beating the NBC program in the 25 to 54 demographic in April, winning out in total viewership in early May and earning more total households than “Meet The Press” in June.
Fox also beat out ABC’s “This Week” and CBS’ “Face The Nation” across the board in Washington last Sunday, a rare feat for a Sunday show that often places near the bottom of the ratings pack.
“Meet The Press” has long been dominant on the national scene, even more so in Washington. But under David Gregory’s leadership that dominance has been in decline.
And new reports claiming NBC is seriously considering firing the hapless television host may have hastened his D.C. ratings slide. Nobody — particularly in Washington — wants to watch a loser.