Week of Aug. 2 Morning Show Ratings: NBC Olympics Boosts Today Show to Back-to-Back Wins in Total Viewers, Adults 25-54

By A.J. Katz 

With an assist from NBC’s live and on-site coverage of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games, Today was the No. 1 morning show this past week, not only in adults 25-54, but also in average total viewers.

That’s now back-to-back weekly wins for NBC in the mornings.

According to live-plus-same-day data from Nielsen, Today averaged 985,000 adults 25-54 and 3.43 million total viewers for the week of August 2, the second week of the 2020 Games. That represents +1% growth in the key demo, and +2% growth in average total viewers from the first week of the Games (July 26). Those figures also represent the largest total viewer and key A25-54 demo deliveries since March.


Compared to the same week one year ago , Today rose by +4% in average total viewers, but shed -1% in the A25-54 viewers. However, compared with the second week of the 2016 Summer Games in Rio, Today shed 1/3 of its average total audience (-33%) and more than half of its A25-54 demo audience (-52%). Now, to be fair, Nielsen ratings for the 2020 Olympics on NBC are way down from what NBC captured for the 2016 Games, and it makes sense Today show has felt the effects of that as well.

Over on ABC, Good Morning America averaged 3.09 million total viewers and 787,000 adults 25-54 last week. Relative to the prior week,  that’s a +3% bump in total viewers and a +1% bump among adults 25-54.

GMA narrowed its margins with Today by double digits in week two of the 2020 Olympics versus week 1 in total viewers (-7% – 336,000 vs. 360,000), delivering its smallest margin opposite a Summer Olympics-fueled Today Show—since at least the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. (Today did not air during the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona and the Nielsen electronic database started in September 1991.)

Compared to the same week one year ago, GMA shed -6% of its average total audience and -11% of its adults 25-54 audience.

Season to date, GMA is the most-watched morning show for the 9th year in a row, and is increasing its lead over Today from the same point last season to its largest in 4 years—since the 2016-2017 season (+% year-over-year).

Third-place CBS This Morning averaged 2.33 million total viewers but only 417,000 adults 25-54 for the week of August 2. That’s -6% in average total viewers, and -13% in adults 25-54 from the previous week, -10% in average total viewers and -29% among adults 25-54 from the year-ago week.

As we’ve mentioned in recent ratings stories, the year-over-year Nielsen ratings decline for all of these shows makes sense. Not only were many Americans more likely to watch the morning shows for breaking news coverage of the pandemic and the presidential election campaign at this time last year, but the general news cycle is far calmer these days than it was in 2020.

Nielsen live-plus-same-day numbers for the week of August 2:

• Total Viewers: 3,092,000 3,428,000 2,328,000
• A25-54: 787,000 985,000 417,000