Morning Show Ratings: Q4 2018; Week of Dec. 24

By A.J. Katz 

Both ABC and NBC are eager to proclaim victory in the morning show ratings race for Q4.

Good Morning America was No. 1 for Q4 2018 in total viewers, while Today was No. 1 among younger news viewers, including the advertiser-preferred A25-54 demo.

Averaging roughly 4.1 million total viewers in Q4, GMA marked its 7th consecutive year as the most-watched morning show for a 4th quarter. Overall, the ABC morning show has won 24 of the last 26 quarters in total viewers. According to the “most current” data from Nielsen, GMA fell short to Today in total viewers during Q3 2016, which included NBC Summer Olympics’ coverage, and Q1 2018, which included NBC Winter Olympics coverage.


All of the morning shows posted ratings losses relative to Q4 2017. In Q4 2018, for instance, Good Morning America was -5 percent in total viewers and -9 percent among adults 25-54.

NBC’s Today show marked its 13th consecutive quarter as the No. 1 morning show among adults 25-54, and posted the most quarter-to-quarter growth of the morning shows. Similar to GMA, Today was -5 percent in total viewers and -9 percent among adults 25-54 vs. its Q4 2017 performance.

CBS This Morning had a rough Q4. Last month, the show’s ep announced that he would be leaving the show in January 2019. Additionally, the program posted double digit year-over-year ratings losses. CTM was -13 percent (total viewers) and -14 percent (A25-54 demo) vs. Q4 of last year.

The averages for Q4 2018:

• Total Viewers:  4,123,000 4,083,000 3,117,000
• A25-54: 1,244,000  1,396,000 814,000




GMA was the most-watched morning show for the holiday-shortened week of Dec. 24. The program out-delivered Today by +193,000 total viewers, its largest margin of victory in 12 weeks.

Furthermore, only 10,000 A25-54 viewers separated Good Morning America and Today, the closest GMA has been to beating Today in the demo since the week of Dec. 21, 2015.

Relative to the comparable week last year, GMA was flat in the A25-54 demo and -4 percent in total viewers.

Today show struggled relative to last year. The program was -13 percent in A25-54 viewers, and -12 percent in total viewers.

CBS This Morning was -10 percent in total viewers and -8 percent in A25-54 viewers versus the holiday week last year.

It’s worth noting that on Christmas Eve (Monday, Dec. 24) and Christmas Day (Tues, Dec. 25), all three morning newscasts were coded as specials.  On Friday, Dec. 28, Good Morning America was retitled to “Good Morning, Amer.” CBS This Morning and Today were coded as breakouts on Wednesday, Dec. 26.  The telecasts were excluded from the weekly averages.  ABC’s averages are based on 2 days (Wed-Thurs) and CBS’ and NBC’s averages are based on 2 days (Thurs-Fri).

The averages for the week of Dec. 24 2018:

• Total Viewers: 3,775,000 3,582,000 2,894,000
• A25-54: 1,131,000  1,141,000 723,000




Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54 and Adults 18-49 Live + SD, 2017-18 Current Week (w/o 12/24/18), Previous Week (w/o 12/17/18) and Year-Ago Week (w/o 12/25/17).  Season to date: Most Current: 2018 -2019 Season (9/24 – 12/30/18) and 2017-2018 Season (9/25 – 12/31/17).  Quarters: Live+7/Most Current – 4Q18: 9/24 – 12/30/18, 3Q17: 7/2 – 9/23/18 and 4Q17: 9/25 – 12/31/17. Averages based on regular telecasts.