‘Good Morning America’ Breaks ‘Today’ Show’s 16-Year Winning Streak

By Chris Ariens 

With final Nielsen numbers now out, ABC’s “Good Morning America” has topped NBC’s “Today” for the first time in more than 16 years. The win was projected Monday with the release of Friday’s preliminary numbers. In the end, “GMA” widened the win by a still-slim 31,000 viewers. “Today” continues the winning streak in A25-54 viewers to 885 weeks (longer than the Total Viewer streak had been). “Today” had 257,000 more younger demo viewers than “GMA.”

Rightly, ABC News president Ben Sherwood is taking a victory lap: “All of us at ABC News salute the dynamic team at ‘Good Morning America’ who never sleep and who care so deeply about the program.”

Of course, we congratulate our friends at “Today” for the greatest winning streak in broadcasting history and for their excellence and leadership during this historic run. It’s a special day for ABC News and, after a proper celebration 852 weeks in the making, we’ll get right back to work to be ready tomorrow to help “GMA” viewers start their day with a rewarding experience and big picture understanding of the world.

After Monday’s projected win, “Today” show executive producer Jim Bell commented that the “852-week winning streak had taken on a life of its own and as odd as it is to see it end, we should acknowledge just how remarkable it has been.”

So as we tip our caps to the team at “Good Morning America,” we can also take a bow ourselves and recognize the work done by countless staffers for so long. It is not an overstatement to call it one of the most incredible achievements in television history, one that is not likely to ever happen again. While the streak has been wonderful affirmation of our work, it has never defined us, and we will continue to innovate, take chances and lead the way.

On Monday, December 11, 1995, the “Today” show reported on a snowstorm in Buffalo, 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 run as the #1 morning show on TV. Jeff Zucker was three years into his run as EP of the show, Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric were co-anchors and Matt Lauer was the newsreader

Compared to the same week last year only “GMA” showed growth: +7% in both Total Viewers and younger viewers. With Matt Lauer on vacation, “Today” was down -9% in Total Viewers and down -13% in younger viewers. While “CBS This Morning” also continues a downward trend from the “Early Show” of last year: down -6% and down -3%

The averages for the week of April 9:

  • Total Viewers: NBC: 5.14M / ABC: 5.17M / CBS: 2.51M
  • A25-54 viewers: NBC: 2.23M / ABC: 1.97M / CBS: 994K