Trump's Meet the Press interview fails to deliver ratings bump for NBC

Key Points
  • President Donald Trump's Sunday interview with NBC's Meet the Press drew 3.1 million viewers.
  • This is less than his appearances during the 2016 presidential campaign generally garnered and only slightly more than recent Meet the Press averages.
  • Trump's recent interviews on other networks have also experienced ratings' dips, possibly indicating flagging public interest.
U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speak with moderator Chuck Todd at the White House for "Meet the Press" in Washington, D.C., Friday, June 21, 2019.
William B. Plowman | NBCUniversal

President Donald Trump's guest appearance on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday failed to draw significantly higher viewership for the program, mirroring his recent performance on other networks. The show aired just days after Trump kicked off his re-election campaign in Orlando, Fla.

The interview drew 3.1 million viewers according to Nielsen data. Two previous episodes of the program on June 16 and June 2, which featured 2020 candidate and Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Rep. Steve Scalise, and Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and 2020 contender Beto O'Rourke, respectively, drew 2.829 million viewers and 2.823 million viewers, according to ratings aggregator TVNewser.

Meet the Press averaged 3.069 million viewers per episode between April 23 and May 20, 2019, the network 'sweeps' period, with guests like Sen. Bernie Sanders, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, Rudy Giuliani, Rep. Jerry Nadler, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar. In the first quarter of 2019, it averaged 3.729 million viewers per episode.

Trump interviews on other television networks have seen ratings dips, possibly indicating flagging public interest.

A primetime ABC interview with Trump June 16 pulled in 3.91 million viewers, down nearly 50% from previous ABC interview in 2017.

The interview also attracted more than 2 million fewer viewers than "Celebrity Family Feud" did in the same timeslot the previous week, according to ratings aggregator TV By the Numbers.

Trump's first interview as president with CBS's 60 Minutes in October 2018 pulled in 11.29 million viewers, a significant dip from his post-election interview in November 2016, which attracted 18.77 million.

Sunday was Trump's first turn on Meet the Press since becoming president, but he was a regular as a candidate, with 18 appearances in 2015 and 2016, in comparison with his opponent Hillary Clinton's six appearances. These episodes generally attracted more viewers than Trump's latest.

His August 16, 2015 appearance -- his first as a candidate -- drew 3.612 million viewers, according to the Hollywood Reporter. At the time, the episode was the show's highest rated since Chuck Todd took the anchor's chair the previous year, although it has since surpassed this record.

Trump's July 24, 2016 appearance, his first following his nomination as the Republican candidate for president, attracted 3.38 million viewers, and his May 8, 2016 appearance brought in 3.678 million, according to ratings aggregator TVNewser.

Two Trump episodes in early 2016 broke 4 million viewers, but both also featured a number of other candidates.

The first, on January 24, 2016, featured Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders, the two leading Democratic presidential competitors at the time, as well as former Secretary of Defense Bob Gates, according to show transcripts.

The other, on February 14, 2016, included Republican candidates Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Marco Rubio and Gov. John Kasich.