Despite obstacles like a post-Super Bowl edition of Today and NBC Olympics coverage, Good Morning America still managed to finish the week of Feb. 14 as U.S. TV’s most-watched morning show. It won the week by a razor thin margin of +2,000 total viewers over NBC’s Today (3.36 million versus 3.358 million). This is according to live-plus-same-day data from Nielsen.
Last week’s result means that for the first time in more than 30 years, GMA stood as the No. 1 morning newscast in average total viewers during both weeks an NBC-hosted Olympics week—since at least 1992 Barcelona (the Nielsen electronic database started in Sept. 1991).
What happened? People aren’t captivated by the Olympics like they have been in the past—and that’s not particularly surprising, considering China’s Covid restrictions have severely limited any sort of “atmosphere” for these Winter Games in Beijing. In light of these restrictions, Today, which usually sends its full anchor team to the site of the Games, had Craig Melvin as its sole representative on the ground this year. And that lack of enthusiasm is showing in the Nielsen ratings. NBC’s coverage of this year’s Winter Olympics has rated quite poorly relative to Games’ past. The Olympics traditionally has a halo effect on NBC News programming, which is a significant reason why Today (and NBC Nightly News, for that matter) posted smaller-than-usual Olympics week audiences.
As expected, NBC’s Today was the dominant morning show the day after the Super Bowl—and averaged 917,000 adults 25-54 for the week of Feb. 14. The 917,000 demo average is +8% from what the show averaged in the demo the previous week—and -11% from what it averaged in the year-ago week. Today has now finished No. 1 in the mornings among adults 25-54 for 331 out of the last 338 weeks.
However, the NBC morning show did come up a hair short to GMA in total viewers, averaging 3.358 million for the week (+10% from the prior week and -5% from the year-ago week). Today showed significant week-to-week ratings growth, but didn’t match its year-ago performance, despite having that halo effect from the Super Bowl and it being an NBC Olympics week.
GMA’s 3.36 million average in total viewers is actually +1% with the previous week (Feb. 7) but -11% from what it delivered in the year-ago week (Feb. 15, ’21). The ABC morning show also averaged 814,000 adults 25-54 this past week, which is -103,000 than its NBC rival—but +270,000 more than CBS Mornings. GMA’s delivery in the A25-54 demo is -4% from what the show averaged the prior week—and -16% vs. the year-ago week.
ABC and NBC aren’t the only networks with morning shows, of course. CBS Mornings averaged 2.43 million total viewers during the week of Feb. 14, which is -2% from the previous week—and -18% from the year-ago week. The show also averaged 544,000 A25-54 viewers, which is +8% from the prior week—but -19% from the year-ago week.
CBS decided to retitle Monday’s telecast of CBS Mornings and exclude it from the weekly and season averages. As a result, the show’s weekly averages from last week are based on just four days (Tuesday-Friday). ABC rated all five days of GMA even though it knew it would lose post-Super Bowl Monday to NBC and Today.
Nielsen live-plus-same-day impressions for the week of Feb. 14, 2022:
|• Total Viewers:||3,360,000||3,358,000||2,454,000|
Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54. Live + SD Current Week (w/o 2/7/22), Previous Week (w/o 1/31/21) and Year-Ago Week (w/o 2/8/21). Most Current: 2021 -2022 Season (9/20/21 – 2/13/22) and 2020 -2021 Season (9/21/20 – 2/14/21). Beginning 8/31/20, national ratings also include Out of Home (OOH) viewing. Averages based on regular telecasts.