Week of July 26 Morning Show Ratings: With Assist From Olympics, Today Show Improves to No. 1 in Total Viewers

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.

In fact, Today delivered its best A25-54 demo win over GMA and CBS This Morning since last Thanksgiving.

According to live-plus-same-day data from Nielsen, NBC’s morning show averaged 971,000 adults 25-54 and 3.36 million average total viewers for the week of July 26, the first week of the Olympics. That’s a +19% improvement in the key demo, and a +12% improvement in average total viewers from the prior week (July 19). Compared to the same week one year ago, a non-Olympics week, Today grew by +2% in average total viewers, but remained flat in the key demo.

However, versus the first week of the 2016 Summer Games in Rio, Today fell -26% in A25-54 viewers and -36% in average total viewers. To be fair, Nielsen ratings for the 2020 Olympics on NBC are down compared to the 2016 Summer Games, and Today is bound to feel the effects of that as well.

Over on ABC, Good Morning America averaged 3 million total viewers and 781,000 adults 25-54 last week. Relative to the prior week,  that’s a -3% decline in total viewers and a -3% decline among adults 25-54. Compared to the same week one year ago, GMA shed -10% of its average total audience and -14% of its adults 25-54 audience.

Despite losing to its NBC rival across the board, GMA delivered its smallest margins ever with Today across the board during an NBC Olympics week.

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 (+51% year-over-year).

Third-place CBS This Morning averaged more than 2.64 million total viewers and 477,000 adults 25-54 for the week of July 26. That’s +1% growth in average total viewers, and +2% in adults 25-54 from the previous week, -6% in average total viewers but -24% among adults 25-54 from the year-ago week.

CTM had its most narrow gap among total viewers vs. ABC since the week of April 26.

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 July 26:

ABC NBC CBS
• Total Viewers: 3,001,000 3,361,000 2,464,000
• A25-54: 781,000 971,000 477,000
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