‘Today’ Counter-Programs Robin Roberts Return With ‘GMA’ Web Partner Yahoo!

By Alex Weprin Comment

Today is a big day for ABC’s “Good Morning America,” with anchor Robin Roberts returning after a battle with MDS. Knowing that “GMA” will almost certainly be winning in the viewership category this morning, NBC’s “Today” decided to counter-program by getting a little more personal: airing an exclusive interview with Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer, and unveiling Yahoo!’s new homepage.

Yahoo! of course has a big digital deal with ABC News, and ABC outsources its “GMA” website to Yahoo.com. The homepage reveal isn’t going to be drawing many eyeballs in itself, but it is a subtle way to stick it to the competition on their big day, even a little bit.

While it is somewhat surprising that Mayer would appear on a rival morning show to the one her company hosts, there may be a certain logic to it.

A “Today” source says that the NBC show was aggressive in wanting to book Mayer, and promised the Yahoo! homepage reveal as part of the package to appear on the program. In addition, Mayer has proven herself to be willing to make a deal with anyone. Yahoo! currently has a content deal with CNBC (which like “Today” is also part of the NBC News Group) as well as NBC Sports, so she is still “supporting” her content partners, even if it is the wrong morning show.

Update: A TV industry insider writes “You gotta wonder who is giving Marissa Mayer such bad advice! She easily could have been on GMA, the number one morning show, on what might be one of its biggest days ever. If you are trying to launch a new homepage, you might want to go where all the eyeballs were on Wednesday morning which was GMA.”