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For third time this year, ABC's 'This Week' tops NBC's 'Meet the Press' in total Sunday viewers

December 5, 2009 |  6:14 am

ABC Sunday This Week host George Stephanopoulos

On the week that ABC was busy luring ex-Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos to become one of the chatty set on "Good Morning America," GS's Sunday show "This Week" up and beats NBC's iconic "Meet the Press" for the third time this year in total viewers.

"This Week" and even CBS' "Face the Nation" have been creeping up on the Tim Russert-less "Meet" since the veteran Washington newsman's death.

New Nielsen numbers show "This Week" attracting 2.77 million viewers, despite its yawner guest lineup of Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and  Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). "Meet" was second with 100,000 fewer sets of eyeballs, "Face" pulled in 2.6 million and "Fox News Sunday" trailed on broadcast airings with 1.17 million.

All three top shows go head-to-head this Sunday with the same two guests -- Robert Gates and Hillary Rodham Clinton, wife of Stephanopoulos' former boss.

The previous weekend in the crucial November sweeps period, as The Ticket reported here, "Meet" won with 3.05 million, "Week" was second with 2.77 million and "Face" third with 2.6 million. Our colleague Mark Milian reported then:

"Fox News Sunday" seems to be slowly gaining momentum, with a now-consistent reach of more than a million people tuning in on Sunday mornings. Thank you, David Axelrod. Would you please denounce Fox News some more?

When you factor in reruns, however, the numbers get even more interesting. The NBC show still holds onto the crown when you add a repeat on cable MSNBC. Then, in second place now is the Fox show with Chris Wallace. Combined, more people watch that show's reruns than its original airing.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: George Stephanopoulos. Credit: ABC News