The Today Show, which surrendered its weekly ratings crown to Good Morning America last year after 16 years as the number one morning news show, suffered another indignity last week when it was revealed that it had also lost the annual ratings battle to ABC’s morning show.
GMA, which snapped Today’s 852 week winning steak last April, beat the former number one show by a substantial margin in total viewers for the year by averaging 5.3 million per week, compared to 4.6 million for Today. In the 2011-2012 season Today led GMA by a margin of 5.1 million to 4.9 million viewers.
In the key 25-54 demographic GMA squeaked by Today by just 85,000 viewers, but nevertheless, they won.
According to ABC, this was the first time GMA has led Today for the full year since the 1993-94 season.
ABC has triumphed by creating a lively mix of news and entertainment, something that Today was famous for during the Katie Couric and Meredith Vieira days. The show started to stagnate under Ann Curry, but it was the unceremonious dumping of Curry last June that precipitated Today’s ratings collapse.
While Today’s ratings are still strong—CBS This Morning would die for anything close—the collapse has probably cost NBC News millions of dollars in advertising revenue, which it can ill afford.
Short of a total makeover, Today is likely to find itself stuck in second for the foreseeable future.