After 4 Years in Second Place, NBC’s Today Show Retakes the Morning Show Lead

By Chris Ariens 

morning-show-anchors_640In April, 2012 Good Morning America took the lead from the long-running No. 1 Today show.

It took a little less than four years for Today to get it back.

Last week Today edged GMA in total viewers, by a slim 49,000, for its first non-Olympics win since 2012. Today has been consistently beating GMA in the A25-54 demo for the last six months.

NBC’s total viewer win comes amid a ratings reporting error on ABC’s part. During last Tuesday’s breaking news coverage from Brussels only a small portion of GMA–14 minutes in fact–was rated by Nielsen.

ABC’s mistake aside, it’s still a win for Today, but a win with very little viewer growth. Compared to the same week last year, Today only grew its audience by +1 percent.  Meanwhile, CBS This Morning continues to add the most audience: up +10 percent in viewers and up +8 percent in the A25-54 demo, while Good Morning America is losing the most: down -14 percent in viewers and down -17 percent in the demo.

A Today insider tells us retaking the lead is due in large part to the show returning to its hard news roots, a busy news cycle, and the pairing of Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie as lead anchors.

The averages for the week of March 21, 2016:

  • Total Viewers:  NBC: 4.716M / ABC: 4.667M / CBS: 3.587M
  • A25-54 viewers: NBC: 1.791M / ABC: 1.611M / CBS: 1.064M

Last week also drew to a close the first quarter of 2016 which was the best Q1 for CBS in the the time period in 22 years. CTM is showing significant growth in the women 25-54 demo, up +10 percent, while NBC is down -5 percent and ABC is down -14 percent in that all-important demo, vs. Q1 2015.

The averages for Q1 2016:

  • Total Viewers: ABC: 4.998M / NBC: 4.823M / CBS: 3.811M
  • A25-54 viewers: ABC: 1.736M / NBC: 1.890M / CBS: 1.139M