The New York Post reported on Saturday that The Today Show could be facing cutbacks and layoffs after the show slipped to second place in the ratings behind ABC’s Good Morning America.
The rumors of the cutbacks and layoffs come just after NBC fired 20 staffers on The Tonight Show, and host Jay Leno took a pay cut from his reported salary of $25 to $30 million per year to $20 million in an effort to prevent further cuts.
Today has been losing ground to GMA since the departure of co-host Meredith Vieira, and that has accelerated following the rather unceremonious dumping of her replacement, Ann Curry, at the end of June.
GMA has beaten Today in seven of the last nine weeks in overall viewers, with the exception being the two weeks when NBC’s Olympic coverage gave Today an added boost.
More importantly, GMA beat Today in the key A25-54 demo in late July, ending the show’s 17-year dominance in that category as well.
That’s making Comcast, which is NBC’s majority owner, nervous as they see the once former cash cow being consistently beaten in the ratings. This will eventually lead to fewer advertising dollars, and thus profits, flowing into the show, prompting the layoff rumors.
A rep for The Today Show told the Post that there will absolutely be no cutbacks on the show. But unless it can reverse its recent slide, that seems all but inevitable.