It probably won’t surprise you to learn that Good Morning America averaged the largest total audience in the mornings this past TV season, while Today show averaged the most adults 25-54.
According to live-plus-same-day data from Nielsen, GMA hauled in 3.77 million total viewers, while Today averaged 3.68 million and CBS This Morning 2.88 million for the 2019-2020 TV season.
GMA has averaged the most total viewers on morning television for eight consecutive seasons. For 2019-2020, it increased its advantage over Today versus last season (+21% – 85,000 versus 70,000) to its largest in three years—since the 2016-2017 season.
How about adults 25-54? This is a category Today has dominated for years and won in 2019-2020. The NBC morning show averaged 1.17 million A25-54 viewers this season, while GMA averaged 1.08 million and CTM averaged just 693,000 adults 25-54.
The broadcast morning shows continue to lose viewers during the Trump era. GMA, Today and CTM averaged a combined 10.33 million during 2019-2020, which is -5% from what they drew in the 2018-2019 season (10.91 million). Compared to 2018-2019, GMA was -5% in total viewers and -7% among adults 25-54. Today was -6% in total viewers and -9% among adults 25-54. CBS This Morning was -5% among total viewers and -12% among adults 25-54.
GMA, Today and CBS This Morning were all down double digits among adults 25-54 from 2015-2016. In fact, the three morning shows averaged 12.9 million viewers in 2015-2016, which is +20% more than what the shows drew in 2019-2020.
Click below for the averages for the previous six seasons:
Numbers for 2019-2020 broadcast season:
|• Total Viewers:||3,768,000||3,683,000||2,882,000|
GMA remained the most-watched morning show in Q3 2020, while Today captured the most adults 25-54, per usual.
The ABC morning show averaged 3.34 million viewers for the quarter, whereas Today pulled in a 3.25 million viewer average, and 2.59 million for CBS This Morning.
Today show averaged 971,000 viewers from the key A25-54 demo, whereas GMA pulled in 892,000 on average, with just 592,000 for CTM.
Compared to the previous quarter (Q2, 2020), GMA was -15% in total viewers and -20% in A25-54 viewers. Today was -15% in total viewers and -18% in demo viewers. CTM was -14% in total viewers and -12% in demo viewers. These extreme quarter-to-quarter losses aren’t particularly surprising, considering Americans were extra-focused on news updates concerning the coronavirus pandemic.
Compared to Q3 of last year, GMA was -9% in total viewers and -14% among adults 25-54. Today was -8% in total viewers and -10% in demo viewers. CTM was -6% in total viewers and -16% in demo viewers.
Compared to Q3 of 2016, the lead-up to the most recent presidential election, the numbers were rough. The three morning shows averaged 9.18 million total viewers and 2.08 million adults 25-54 in Q3 2020. The same shows averaged 11.9 million total viewers and 4.05 million adults 25-54 in Q3 2016. That’s a difference of -23% in total viewers and -38% in demo viewers.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that NBC aired the 2016 Rio Olympics in Q3 of that year, an event which consistently lifts Today’s ratings, especially among adults 25-54.
Numbers for Q3, 2020:
|• Total Viewers:||3,340,000||3,252,000||2,592,000|
Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54 Live + SD Current Week (w/o 9/14/20), Previous Week (w/o 9/7/20) and Year-Ago Week (w/o 9/16/19). Most Current: 2019-2020 Season (9/23/19-9/21/20) and 2018-2019 Season (9/24/18-9/23/19). Most Current – 3Q20: 6/29 – 9/20/20. 2Q20: 3/30 – 6/28/20. 3Q19: 7/1 – 9/22/19. Nielsen ratings for ABC, NBC and CBS include additional airings in select markets.
*Beginning 8/31/20, national ratings also include Out of Home (OOH) viewing. Averages based on regular telecasts.