ABC’s Good Morning America finished the week of May 10 with the largest average total audience on morning TV, while NBC’s Today averaged the most adults 25-54.
A pretty consistent trend over these past 8-9 years.
GMA averaged nearly 3.4 million total viewers this past week, outperforming Today by +147,000, widening its lead both week-to-week (+13%; vs. 130,000) and year to year (+21%; vs. 121,000) to its largest lead since the week of February 15.
GMA beat both NBC and CBS in Adults 25-54 on Tuesday (+31,000 – 880,000 vs. 849,000) and Thursday (+109,000 – 1.004 million vs. 895,000), representing the first time that ABC’s morning show posted two Adults 25-54 wins over Today during the course of a week since Sept. 21, 2020.
On Tuesday, GMA turned in its most-watched telecast since March 12, and on Thursday, it posted its top telecast among adults 25-54 since January 12.
The ABC morning show grew +5% in adults 25-54 from the prior week, (896,000 vs. 851,000), and +1% in total viewers (3.36 million vs. 3.32 million). However, compared to the same week one year ago (May 11, 2020), the program shed -13% of its average total viewers and was also down -18% in A25-54 audience.
NBC’s Today show, on the other hand, averaged 939,000 viewers from the adults 25-54 demo, marking a whopping 90 consecutive weeks as the No. 1 morning show in that key measurement. Today also averaged just 3.2 million total viewers this past week, and managed to finish No. 1 on Monday not only in the demo, but also scored a win in total viewers that day.
The NBC morning show grew +1% in total viewers, and +1% in adults 25-54 relative to the previous week. However, compared to the same week one year ago, the program fell -14% in total viewers and -22% in adults 25-54, a steeper drop in the demo than its competitors.
As we’ve mentioned in recent ratings stories, the significant year-over-year audience decline makes sense. Not only were many Americans more likely to watch the morning shows for breaking news coverage of the pandemic at this time last year, but the overall news cycle is far calmer these days than it was at any point last year. We should also expect ratings to decline even more as the weather improves. But that’s not a new trend.
In general, Americans have been fleeing the broadcast morning shows for years now, even prior to the pandemic, with a fair number heading to cable, newsletters, podcasts, etc. in the A.M.
Third-place CBS This Morning averaged nearly 2.7 million total viewers and 575,000 adults 25-54 for the week of May 10.
Compared to the aforementioned week of May 3, that’s -3% in total viewers, and -1% among adults 25-54. The broadcast dropped by -13% in average total viewers, and also -13% in adults 25-54 compared to the year-ago week.
CBS This Morning is delivering the narrowest season-to-date gaps with the competition in total viewers and the 25-54 demo dating back to 1991. That doesn’t mean CTM’s ratings are skyrocketing, however; it just means that the show’s year-over-year losses are less severe than what GMA and Today have been experiencing.
Nielsen Live-plus-same-day numbers for the week of May 10, 2021
|• Total Viewers:||3,360,000||3,213,000||2,669,000|
Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54. Live + SD Current Week (w/o 5/10/21), Previous Week (w/o 5/3/21) and Year-Ago Week (w/o 5/11/20). Most Current: 2020 -2021 Season (9/21/20 – 5/16/21) and Most Current: 2019 -2020 Season (9/23/19 – 5/18/20).