Rather than give up on “Today” in the wake of veteran co-anchor Matt Lauer’s departure, viewers are flocking to it.
For the second consecutive week, the first two hours of the NBC morning program surged ahead of the show’s main rival, “Good Morning America” – not only capturing its usual lead among people between 25 and 54, the demographic most coveted by advertisers – but among overall audiences as well. It’s the first time the venerable A.M show has done so since late 2016, when it beat “GMA” among total viewers for the weeks of December 12, 2016 and December 19, 2016.
“Today” captured an average of nearly 1.64 million people between the ages of 25 and 54 for the week ended December 8th, according to Nielsen and an average of nearly 4.58 million viewers overall. Meanwhile, “GMA” lured an average of nearly 1.38 million people between 25 and 54 during the time period, along with an average of nearly 4.38 million overall. CBS’ “CBS This Morning” lured an average of 916,000 viewers between 25 and 54 and approximately 3.57 million viewers in total, Nielsen said.
“GMA” is typically the most-watched morning program in the U.S., with “Today” usually taking the lead among the advertiser demographic.
“Today” is under more scrutiny than in the recent past. The ouster of Lauer, who greeted viewers on the program for more than two decades, came as a surprise to the show’s audience, who found out about it when they tuned in to the November 29th broadcast of the show. That could serve as a reason for the recent viewer surge. “Good Morning America” broadcasts in Los Angeles were cut by coverage of wildfires in the area, which would also have affected viewer counts last week.
The numbers suggest the natural interest in the post-Lauer era of the show could subside. “Today” captured overall viewership of 4.9 million for the week ending December 1, while “GMA” won overall viewership of 4.36 million. That means “Today” lost some viewers week over week while “GMA” gained some.
At present, Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb are co-anchoring t”Today.” Whether that team becomes permanent may not be known for some time.