Pew: Public Interest in Sunday Talk Shows Declines by 8%; Weeknight News Programs Hold Steady

New research suggest that the Sunday political talk shows are losing their audience. They’re averaging only 2.3 million viewers. (Associated Press)
New research suggest that the Sunday political talk shows are losing their audience. They’re averaging only 2.3 million viewers. (Associated Press)

Sunday morning political talk shows have some surprising heritage. It is interesting to note, for example, that NBC’s “Meet the Press” is the nation’s longest running television show, debuting as a half-hour program on Nov. 6, 1947, with serious topics and notable guests — back in the days when anchors spoke in the voice of doom, with an intense demeanor.

CBS’s “Face the Nation” went on the air seven years later in 1954, while ABC’s “This Week” debuted in 1981.

So between the three of them, the shows have been on the air for 175 years.

Sunday talk, however, appears to be losing its appeal. The Pew Research Center has tallied the public interest based on industry statistics.

“Average audience for the network TV Sunday morning political talk shows on ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC — ‘This Week,’ ‘Face the Nation,’ and ‘Meet the Press,’ respectively — declined 8% in 2018, to about 2.3 million average viewers,” the pollster said in a new report, which reviewed several years worth of complex Comscore audience data.

But wait, there’s more.

“The average audience for the four newsmagazine shows aired by the networks — ABC’s ‘20/20,’ CBS’s ‘60 Minutes’ and ‘48 Hours,’ and NBC’s ‘Dateline’ — declined in 2018, down 8% from 2017,” the report also noted.

Relatively unembellished news — with less opinion or agenda — seems to be holding its own.

The average audience for the evening newscasts for ABC, CBS and NBC remained relatively stable in 2018, with 5.3 million viewers tuning in on average, compared with 5.2 million in 2017.

“Combined advertiser expenditures for the evening broadcast news programs, ABC’s ‘World News Tonight,’ CBS ‘Evening News’ and NBC ‘Nightly News,’ were $518 million in 2018, a decline of 6% compared with 2017, according to estimates from Kantar Media,” the study noted.

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SOURCE: Jennifer Harper
The Washington Times