If the Sunday morning TV throne is empty, then the race for the crown is on.
NBC's "Meet the Press" suffered its lowest ratings since David Gregory became moderator last week, dipping below the 3 million viewer mark for the first time since August 19, 2007*.
"Meet" averaged 2.97 million total viewers for the May 10 broadcast, which featured Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai, Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari, Steve Coll and Andrea Mitchell.
Meanwhile, CBS' "Face the Nation," which featured an interview with former Vice President Dick Cheney, averaged 2.74 million total viewers, and ABC's "This Week," which featured interviews with National Security Adviser Jim Jones and Senator John McCain, averaged 2.62 million total viewers (its lowest delivery since August 17, 2008). "Fox News Sunday" with Chris Wallace averaged 1.32 million total viewers.
Compared to this same week last year, "Meet the Press" is down 28% in total viewers, while "Face the Nation" is up 17%, "This Week" is up 4%, and "Fox News Sunday" is up 14%. And compared to the May 3 show, "Face the Nation" has slashed its viewing gap with "Meet" by 69% (230,000 viewers compared to 740,000 viewers), while "This Week" has cut its viewing gap with "Meet" by 38% (350,000 viewers compared to 560,000 viewers)
In the Adults 25-54 demographic, all four shows were down compared to the same week last year, with "Meet the Press" averaging 1 million viewers (-35%), "This Week" averaging 800,000 viewers (-16%), "Face the Nation" averaging 760,000 viewers (-6%), and "Fox News Sunday" averaging 454,000 viewers (-4%).
Last month, Wallace told the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz that "the throne is empty" (in regards to Tim Russert's successor as the Sunday morning TV king). The LA Times that same day focused on Stephanopoulos as the main threat to NBC's ratings dominance. Last week, the LA Times wrote that "Meet the Press" may soon lose the top spot in the Sunday morning ratings.
*"Meet the Press" did average 2.17 million total viewers on June 8, 2008, but it was only at 86% coverage then and thus is not a fair comparison.