ABC’s Good Morning America finished the week of May 24 with the largest average total audience on morning TV, while NBC’s Today averaged the most adults 25-54.
A pretty consistent trend on non-Olympics weeks over the past 8-9 years.
GMA averaged more than 3.3 million total viewers this past week, outperforming Today by an average of +118,000, nearly doubling its lead year to year (+93%; vs. 61,000). The ABC morning show also averaged 837,000 viewers from the key A25-54 demo this past week.
Relative to the prior week, Good Morning America fell by -5% in adults 25-54, and shed -1% in total viewers. Compared to the same week one year ago (May 25, 2020), ABC’s morning show shed -10% of its average total viewers and was down by -17% among adults 25-54.
NBC’s Today, on the other hand, averaged 907,000 viewers from the adults 25-54 demo this past week, marking a whopping 92 consecutive weeks, and completing 69 consecutive months as the No. 1 morning show in that key measurement. Today also averaged nearly 3.2 million total viewers this past week.
The NBC morning show held steady from the prior week, both in total viewers, and among adults 25-54. However, compared to the same week one year ago, the program was down by -12% in total viewers and -17% in adults 25-54.
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 and the election campaign 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 and we approach summer. But that’s true across TV.
Additionally, 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 morning. This might explain the steady year-over-year drop off in linear ratings for the 7-9 a.m. ET time period.
Third-place CBS This Morning averaged nearly 2.6 million total viewers and 538,000 adults 25-54 for the week of May 24.
Compared to the week of May 17, that’s less than +1% growth in average total viewers, but a -1% drop off among adults 25-54. The broadcast shed -13% in average total viewers, and -16% in adults 25-54 compared to the year-ago week.
CBS This Morning is still delivering the narrowest season-to-date gaps with the competition in total viewers and the 25-54 demo dating back to 1991. However, as the above numbers make clear, this doesn’t mean CTM’s ratings are exactly skyrocketing, 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 24, 2021
|• Total Viewers:||3,310,000||3,192,000||2,577,000|
Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers, Adults 25-54. Live + SD Current Week (w/o 5/24/21), Previous Week (w/o 5/17/21) and Year-Ago Week (w/o 5/25/20). Most Current: 2020 -2021 Season (9/21/20 – 5/30/21) and Most Current: 2019 -2020 Season (9/23/19 – 5/64/20). *Beginning 8/31/20, national ratings also include Out of Home (OOH) viewing. Averages based on regular telecasts.