‘Today’ Beats ‘Good Morning America’ From Sochi, But Margins Shrink

By | Tuesday February 18, 2014 @ 2:55pm PST

Today climbed back on top of the ratings among morning infotainment programs, last week,  though it did not find itself at the same dizzying ratings heights, relative to the competition, it has enjoyed in past Winter Games.   Today, after today3some recent ratings doldrums, delivered its biggest audience advantages over ABC’s Good Morning America since the second week of the London Games in August 2012, according to fast national program ratings from Nielsen for last week.

The second week of the London Games, you’ll recall, is the last time Today show beat GMA in total viewers. GMA has won every week since in overall audience.

Today averaged 6.221 million viewers last week — its biggest weekly crowd since the week of the Royal British wedding in April 2011. Today‘s 6.221 million viewers topped GMA’s 6.010 million for the week by 211,000 viewers. For comparison sake, that second week of the London Games, Today’s total viewers lead over GMA was 1.541 million. And Today’s lead over GMA during the first full week of broadcast goodmorningamerica_2012__120411163915__130328183014__130404165656from the Olympics in 2010 was 1.884 million.

In the news demo, Today averaged 2.545 million viewers its first full week of Sochi Olympics broadcasts –  its biggest demo haul since the week of the Joplin, Missouri tornado in May of ’11. That 2.545 million is 185,000 viewers ahead of GMA’s 2.360 million demo viewers last week. Here too, it’s Today’s biggest edge over GMA since the second week of the London Games. Four years ago, during the comparable week at Vancouver, Today led GMA by 1.011 million demo viewers. Read More »

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Al Roker Lands ‘Today’ In Thick Of Snowstorm Story From Sochi When He Apologizes For Forecasting One Term For NYC Mayor: Video

By | Friday February 14, 2014 @ 8:18am PST

roker1Today show weatherman Al Roker apologized this morning on air from Sochi for suggesting New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio would be one term and out over his “goofball” decision to keep schools open in the thick SochiOlympicsNBC__131021180345__140123184857__140127203358of the latest winter storm.

One of the popular theories as to why NBC’s Today show is not grabbing the usual winning crowds it enjoys whenever it goes to an Olympics (its ratings have popped, but ABC’s Good Morning America was able to snag a bigger crowd this past Tuesday, for instance, though Today jumped back on top Wednesday) is  that Today is getting pummeled by the weather. Not the surprisingly warm temperatures in Sochi, which is affecting conditions for several Olympics competitions, but the mondo snowstorm that was forecast for, and then hit, the U.S. East Coast. Particularly East Coast morning viewers looking for information about the storm barreling down on them might have been too distracted to watch Team Today each morning, interviewing U.S. medal winners, discussing Russian culture, and wearing eucalyptus-branch hats while soaking at a Russian bath house. That, even though Today at least one morning led its broadcast with a big storm report, and has included segments on the storm throughout its Sochi broadcasts.

Today weatherman Roker may have solved that problem when he gave himself a speaking part in the storm spectacle, launching a Twitter tirade against New York mayor Bill de Blasio over the latter’s decision to keep NY schools open Thursday despite severe weather warnings. This morning, Roker got a big fat plug across the media landscape when he apologized on Today for one of those tweets, in which he gave his “long-range forecast” that de Blasio would be a one-term mayor.

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NBC’s ‘Today’ Bags Biggest Crowd Since London Games, But ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ Nabs More Viewers

By | Thursday February 13, 2014 @ 12:09pm PST

2012-05-21-GoodMorningAmerica_2012ABC‘s Good Morning America attracted the largest audience among morning infotainment programs the week that included the first couple days of NBC‘s Olympics coverage. NBC began today3covering Games competition on Thursday of last week and broadcast the Opening Ceremony in primetime on Friday. NBC noted Today won those mornings last week — by an average of  190,000 viewers and 326,000 news-demo viewers.

ABC also noted that on Tuesday of this week, GMA topped Today, for the first time ever during official Olympics Games. Read More »

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Sam Champion’s New Weather Channel Show Name Revealed

If you guessed Sam Champion‘s new The Weather Channel show was going to be called AMHQ — you win! Champion himself did the unveiling, this morning, via Twitter.

TWC put out a news release, however,  explaining AMHQ is short for America’s Morning Headquarters – but that the official title is AMHQ.  Read More »

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TCA: Weather Channel Tells TV Critics That DirecTV Is Putting Americans At Risk; Critics Dubious

Weather Channel DirecTVA major storm rained down on Winter TV Press Tour 2014 this morning when The Weather Channel took the stage to blast DirectTV over their current carriage dispute. In anticipation of the channel’s appearance before a couple hundred journalists at the tour, it  issued an ominous campaign late last night warning viewers they needed to contact their congressional reps to intervene, or else DirecTV would take away “its critical weather programming,” calling it a “public safety issue.”

TV critics at the press tour weren’t entirely drinking The Weather Channel’s  Kool-aid. One critic noted TWC is a successful company owned by a big corporation, asking “Is it fair to declare it a public utility?” in what’s really a business dispute.

Related: DirecTV Hits Back In Weather Channel Spat, Citing Customer Complaints

DirecTV Weather channel“Absolutely. And I’m not kidding,” Weather Channel president David Clark responded ominously.  “If you’ve ever been in a severe weather situation and you need to make a decision to protect your family and you need to make it fast” you need “to know your information comes from a trusted source… We have a mission to serve that we take seriously. Don’t think you can stand a fly-by-night alternative to that,” he said, warning “you’re going to be putting your audience at risk.”

And by “fly-by-night” he meant a little channel called WeatherNation that the satellite giant’s subscribers might have noticed appearing right next to Weather Channel on DirecTV’s lineup in recent weeks, as the satcaster’s carriage deal with The Weather Channel is set to expire next week.

At Clark’s side on stage, The Weather Channel’s pricey new hire Sam Champion warned “there isn’t one,” in re alternatives to The Weather Channel in a weather emergency. “I’d love to say we can rest assured we’re safe in our homes because of BLANK. There isn’t one… Getting people ready, getting them through a storm that is the worst time in their life, is something I don’t take lightly, and this channel does it better than anyone else  — anywhere . The Coast Guard, the Navy — everybody — police officers, fire officers watch this channel during emergencies to get  information. That’s a responsibility that no one takes lightly. What we’re trying to say is we want people to have access to it.”

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‘Today’ Ad Blitz Unveiling Upstaged By Robin Roberts Coming Out On ‘GMA’: Video

LisaColumn__131015210634-275x198NBC began its Today show Olympics walk-up this morning with a strategically timed piece in The New York Times about a Comcast-wide ad blitz for a new show tagline “Rise to Shine”.  It’s part of a big push to get Today back on top in the morning infotainment show ratings.  In the article, NBC noted that Today, which lost its ratings crown to ABC’s Good Morning America some time ago, has been Todayshow07__120726201155-200x129chipping away at GMA’s lead, even beating its rival by 18,000 in the news demo the week of December 16 (aka The Week GMA Sent Robin Roberts to the Vatican). The head of NBC News research spoke passionately about Matt Lauer‘s importance to the show’s ratings resuscitation,  and Matt himself discussed taking selfies when you think you’re looking good, not when you’re looking bad.

GMA responded this morning with a news release announcing that it won all four quarters of 2013, including its largest fourth-quarter total-viewer lead over Today in more than 22 years, and its biggest demo lead over Today in 19 years (371,000 viewers) during the final full week of the calendar year.

Oh, and Robin Roberts come out on GMA this morning — taking some of the wind out of Today’s carefully orchestrated “Rise to Shine”. Read More »

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Did Visit To Vatican Cost ‘GMA’ A News Demo Win For Week Of December 16?

By | Monday December 30, 2013 @ 2:22pm PST

Today Todayshow07__120726201155-200x129finished first among 25- to 54-year-olds for the week – its first demo win in nearly six months. The NBC morning infotainment show edged out ABC’s Good Morning America by 18,000 viewers in the age bracket, while … Read More »

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Lifetime Developing Brian Stelter’s Morning Infotainment Wars Book, ‘Top Of The Morning’, As Movie

Lifetime is developing a TV movie adaptation of Brian Stelter‘s Top Of The Morning: Inside the TODAYCutthroat World of Morning TV, about the rise of Good Morning America over Today in the morning infotainment ratings war. The movie will be … Read More »

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Halloween, ‘Dancing With The Stars’ Deliver ‘GMA’ A Big November Sweep Win

abc-good-morning-america-jpg__121126184805A Halloween coup and a Dancing With The Stars pop catapulted ABC’s Good Morning America to its second consecutive November sweep win among the broadcast morning infotainment programs. GMA won the sweep in the news demo (2.226 million viewers) and among viewers of all ages (5.950 million). The win marks GMA’s first back-to-back November sweep wins in 20 years overall, and 21 years in the demo. The November victory extends GMA’s streak to six straight in total viewers and five in the demo.

Today, meanwhile, noted this morning is has now been No. 1 rated in the 18-49 demo for 77 consecutive sweeps overall and 22 consecutive November sweeps. News programming is not typically sold off that demo, but it is one that NBC targets aggressively in other dayparts. Read More »

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Amy Robach Updates ‘Good Morning America’ On Cancer Spread: Video

By | Thursday December 5, 2013 @ 7:25am PST

Amy Robach Cancer ABC NewsGood Morning America  interviewed ABC News’ Amy Robach this morning — three weeks after her double mastectomy and coinciding with her People magazine cover — to tell viewers she will undergo four months of chemo after her mastectomy revealed the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes, as well as a second malignant tumor. “I’m going to work through it,” she said of the chemo, which she will begin later this month. “I saw Robin [Roberts] do it. I know how strong you were and you give me strength, Robin, because it is important to get up and have something to do each day,” she told the GMA on-air gang. Here’s a clip of Robach’s interview:

Robach’s cancer diagnosis after an on-air mammogram made news. American TV viewers have become accustomed to watching news talent having various on-air health checkups since Katie Couric’s on-air colonoscopy more than a decade ago; last month on NBC’s Today, Matt Lauer and Al Roker got on-air-but-behind-doors prostate exams. Read More »

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‘Good Morning America’ Begins Bidding Sam Champion Adieu: Video

By | Tuesday December 3, 2013 @ 6:30am PST

ABC’s ratings leader Good Morning Americaabc-good-morning-america-jpg__121126184805 muddled through its first morning after news broke of the first successful raid on its popular on-air team. Weatherman Sam Champion is leaving tomorrow, to become managing editor, a producer, and anchor of a new flagship morning show at The Weather Channel. Not coincidentally, Weather Channel is co-owned by NBC, whose Today show is now regularly getting whomped by GMA, after monopolizing the daypart for years. “Cold weather set to hit even LA and Phoenix — one of many reasons to welcome Sam here right at the start,” SamChampionGeorge Stephanopoulos said awkwardly at the top of this morning’s GMA broadcast.

Related: Sam Champion Leaves ‘GMA’ For Weather Channel

“You made headlines yesterday — you were off, but you were not resting,” added Robin Roberts, addressing Champion. “We are so excited for you — a big new adventure for you with your new job at The Weather Channel,” she said. Champion’s GMA colleagues seemed somewhat constrained and sticking-to-script-ish at the top of the broadcast –  the news coming as it does while Roberts, as well as Josh Elliott and Lara Spencer also are in contract negotiations with ABC.

“It is hard to step out and make a change — I’m so proud and you’re setting an example for so many of us,” Roberts said (ominously we think,  if you’re an ABC News exec), later in the program, as the GMA gang sat around and gabbed about Champion’s new gig. “We want to sometimes try something different — it would have been easy to stay; we know you love us and we love you. But to do this, that lets us know this is what you’re meant to do.”

Read More »

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Sam Champion Leaves ‘Good Morning America’ For Weather Channel, Ginger Zee To Replace Him

By | Monday December 2, 2013 @ 8:16am PST
Nellie Andreeva

samchampionGood Morning America weatherman Sam Champion, who has been with ABC‘s morning program since 2006,  is leaving the network to join the Weather Channel as the host of a new morning show to launch in Q1 2014 … Read More »

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ABC News’ Amy Robach: Double Mastectomy Revealed Second, Undetected Malignant Tumor

By | Friday November 22, 2013 @ 11:58am PST

ABC News’ Amy Robach, whose cancer diagnosis after an on-air mammogram made news, says her double mastectomy has revealed a second, previously undetected malignant tumor. “My prognosis is good, I got very lucky finding the cancer through our ABC sponsored mammogram and I got lucky choosing an aggressive approach, bilateral mastectomy, because while in surgery last week my surgeon found a second, undetected malignant tumor,” Robach said today in a memo to Good Morning America staff. Read More »

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ABC News’ Amy Robach To Have Double Mastectomy After On-Air Mammogram Leads To Cancer Diagnosis

By | Monday November 11, 2013 @ 6:16am PST

American TV viewers have become accustomed to watching morning infotainment talent having various on-air health checkups since Katie Couric had her celebrated on-air colonoscopy more than a decade ago. Most recently, Matt Lauer and Al Roker got their prostates checked on Today, and last month, ABC News’ Amy Robach got her very first mammogram on ABC’s Good Morning America as talent across the morning infotainment-show landscape plugged Breast Cancer Awareness Month. What viewers are not used to is that TV personality announcing, not long thereafter, that they have breast cancer and will have a double mastectomy. That “first” fell to Robach, a few weeks after her October 1 on-air mammogram resulted in a cancer diagnosis. On GMA this morning, and in a post on ABC.com, Robach said the mammogram was something she had agreed to do only at the request of a GMA producer, and that she had breathed a sigh of relief once it was over. The cancer concerns were not raised during that broadcast. But a few weeks later, she said, when she thought she was going back in for a few follow-up images, she learned she had breast cancer. Read More »

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UPDATE: NBC To Trot Out Second Pilot For ‘Dateline’ Skydiver Collision Special After ‘GMA’ Beats ‘Today’ Skydivers Edition

By | Wednesday November 6, 2013 @ 2:35pm PST

UPDATE, 2:35 PM: NBC will air its Dateline special, using the helmet-cam video of the skydivers who survived that mid-air collision 12,000 feet above Wisconsin last weekend, this Friday at 8 PM on a Dateline special called Miracle On The Sunset Dive. Sure enough, NBC News was saving that second plot — the one whose plane caught fire and broke into pieces, and who was not seen on Tuesday’s Today show — for the Dateline special. “For the first time, hear from the pilot whose plane lost both of its wings and plummeted to the ground,” NBC News emoted in this afternoon’s scheduling announcement.

Related: ‘Today’s Lauer And Roker To Get Live Prostate Exams

PREVIOUS, 10:17 AM: Word that NBC News had paid “in excess” of $100,000 for exclusive rights to helmet-cam video of skydivers who’d miraculously survived a recent mid-air collision in Wisconsin had some media critics harrumphing mightily, accusing NBC News of “checkbook journalism” albeit on a Hollywood-cappuccino-money level — but that’s not the point. In fairness, the news did not offend some media-watchers’ moral sense — no doubt because they don’t have one, you’re thinking. Read More »

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‘GMA’s Lara Spencer And Sam Champion To Help Launch ABC-Univision Network Fusion Next Week

By | Monday October 21, 2013 @ 1:09pm PDT

Good Morning America will lend its ratings muscle to the October 28 launch of Fusion network, the news/pop culture/satire network from ABC and Univision. That morning, GMA’s Lara Spencer and Sam ChampionRead More »

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ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ Wins TV Season For First Time Since 1992-93

ABC News will officially announce tomorrow that Good Morning America has won the morning infotainment war for a full TV season. It marks GMA‘s first victory since the 1992-93 season in the news demographic, and in total viewers for the first time since the 1993-1994 TV season when the show was co-hosted by Charlie Gibson and Joan Lunden. GMA not only won every week of the season in total viewers (it won 43 weeks in the news demo), it also copped the No. 1-rated telecast of each of those weeks. For the full 51-week season (Nielsen specialed-out Hurricane Sandy Week owing to massive schedule, and reception, interruption), GMA clocked about 5.3 million total viewers and nearly 2 million adults 25-54, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Growing for a third straight year — up 9% compared to last season’s total viewer average of around 4.9 million — GMA won the 2012-13 season with its largest overall audience and largest season margin (about 680,000 viewers) over No. 2-ranked Today in more than 21 years. In adults 25-54, GMA also increased for the third year in a row — up 4% compared to last season’s demo average of 1.897 million — to deliver its strongest news demo performance in 5 seasons, and beat Today by its biggest news demo gap  — nearly 90,000 –  in 21 years. Read More »

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‘Dancing’ Cast Reveal On Track To Top Weekly Morning Infotainment Ratings

Based on preliminary stats, Good Morning America’s Wednesday announcement of the new Dancing With The Stars cast is on track to have scored the biggest morning infotainment-show audience this week – about 5.3 million viewers. Demo-wise, it’s the same story, only with 2.2 million viewers 25-54.  Still, Wednesday’s Dancing cast reveal did not match the nearly 6 million who’d watched GMA unveil Dancing‘s most recent previous lineup, and ABC was trying hard to get the biggest crowd tune in possible as it looked to resuscitate the stumbled franchise. Maybe that’s why the network is said to be investigating who leaked so many of the names to TMZ in advance of Wednesday’s announcement, cutting at least 20% of the drama. Among the names TMZ spoiled was Valerie Harper, who was supposed to be the Big Surprise, what with her battling cancer that has moved to her brain, and Harper having said in January that doctors had given her three to six months to live. With Harper’s participation a foregone conclusion by the time of the Wednesday reveal — ditto multiple sclerosis patient Jack Osbourne, former The Talk co-host Leah Remini, Glee’s Amber Riley, and others  — The Reporters Who Cover Television were left scrambling to name a  “big surprise” in their coverage of Wednesday’s casting news. Several went with Bill Nye the Science Guy.
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‘Dancing With The Stars’ Cast: Valerie Harper, Leah Remini, Jack Osbourne, Bill Nye Among Competitors

From the brave to the blah, Mary Tyler Moore Show/Rhoda actress Valerie Harper and a mess of Disney alums were this morning revealed on the next round of ABC’s struggling dance competition series Dancing With The Stars. Harper was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in January and given three to six months to live but is now said to be “nearing remission,” as she and her doctor explained it to NBC’s Today recently while plugging Valerie’s Story — A Meredith Vieira Special, set to air September 19 on that network. Speaking of NBC, Sharon Osbourne’s son Jack — who was yanked from a reality competition series on that network when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis — is joining Harper on Dancing. His sister Kelly was a finalist on the show in 2009.

Related: ‘Dancing With The Stars’ At A Casting Crossroads

Many of the celeb dancers’ names had been leaked before this morning’s reveal on ABC’s morning infotainment show Good Morning America. Bill Nye the Science Guy was in none of those reports and he’s maybe the morning’s biggest surprise. Not at all surprising was Leah Remini, whose name was first leaked. Remini, maybe best known for starring in CBS’ sitcom King Of Queens has more recently been making headlines for her exit from Scientology. She appeared on this morning’s reveal via satellite, looking very subdued. Glee’s Amber Riley, no longer a regular on that Fox series, is looking for her next career move on Dancing; ditto Jersey Shore alum Snooki and The Voice social media correspondent Christina Milian. Ironically, it’s The Voice’s move to Dancing’s time slot that’s been giving it such a ratings headache the past several seasons. Read More »

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