13 Years at #1 For the Today Show

By Chris Ariens 

On December 11, 1995, the “Today” show reported on a snowstorm in Buffalo, the U.S. Marines arriving in Bosnia, Michael Jackson’s collapse during an on-stage rehearsal, and the possibility of MSN and NBC starting a 24-hour cable news channel. That was also the day the show began its unprecedented as the #1 morning show on TV.

A snow storm is in the forecast for Buffalo, Michael Jackson only finds himself in the news occasionally these days and that MSN and NBC cable news channel launched seven months later…and is about to have its best year ever.

More from an NBC News press release, after the jump…


NEW YORK – December 18, 2008 – On Monday, December 11, 1995, NBC News’ “Today” reported on a massive snowstorm in Buffalo, N.Y., the U.S. Marines arriving in Bosnia, Michael Jackson’s collapse during an on-stage rehearsal, and the possibility of MSN and NBC starting a 24-hour cable news channel. That day also began an unprecedented run in broadcast television – it was the first day of “Today’s” 13-year, 679th-consecutive-week winning streak.

No other morning news program has come close to a winning streak like “Today’s.” It far surpasses GMA’s longest winning streak of 87 straight weeks (1990-1991), and it’s the longest current winning streak in all of broadcast television, by any show, in any daypart.

Now, after covering countless news and political events, traveling to “The Ends of the Earth,” introducing the nation’s top performers, interviewing the publishing world’s most prominent and popular authors, and sharing their life experiences with all of America – Matt, Meredith, Al, Ann, and all of the “Today” show staff want to thank the millions of viewers who continue to invite them into their homes every morning and have kept the show in first place for such an extraordinary run.

And, to keep with what’s become a morning news tradition, “Today” aced the week, attracting more than 5.8 million viewers for the week of December 8 – a whopping 1.2 million (26 percent) lead over GMA, and a 2.7 million (85 percent) lead over “The Early Show.” “Today” beat GMA by at least one million viewers all five days last week and in 33 of the past 50 weeks. “Today’s” total viewer delivery has increased each of the past three weeks. Week-to-week, “Today’s” total viewer advantage over GMA increased by 29%.

“Today” also topped off the landmark week increasing its deliveries in homes (2%), total viewers (2%), M/A18-49 (10%/6%), and M/A25-54 (7%/5%) versus the prior week. Season-to-date, “Today’s” advantages over GMA have increased in homes, total viewers, W/M/A18-49 and W/A25-54 versus the same period last season.

For the week, “Today” led with a 4.4 household rating/15 share and more than 5.8 million viewers. GMA trailed with a 3.5/12 and 4.6 million viewers. “The Early Show” remained in third place with a 2.3/8 and 3.1 million viewers.

In rating A25-54, “Today” led GMA by an outstanding 29 percent (5 tenths) and beat “The Early Show” by 83 percent (1 ratings points). In rating A18-49, “Today” outperformed GMA by 42 percent (5 tenths) and Early Show by 113 percent (9 tenths).

“Today II” posted its best non-Olympic total viewership since the week of April 28, 2008 with a 2.6/10 and 3.5 million viewers. “Today II” continues to top “CBS Early Show” homes, total viewers and key demos, and it outperformed “The View” M18-49 (25%) and M25-54 (17%). Week-to-week, “Today II” increased in homes (+4%), total viewers (+7%), W/M/A18-49 (+20%/+25%/+14%) and W/M/A25-54 (+17%/+17%/+17%).

“Today III” posted its best total viewer delivery since the week of March 17, 2008. For the week, “Today III” delivered 2 million viewers, a 1.5/6 in homes and a 0.7 in A25-54. Versus the prior week, “Today III” improved in total viewers (2%), and A18-49 (20%) and W25-54 (+13%). “Today III” was up in total viewers (+1%) and rating A18-49 (+20%) compared to the same week last season.

On its digital platforms, “Today” continued its strong performance during the week with more than 5.2 million online streams. TODAYshow.com’s stories, blog, message boards and live votes were also popular with users.