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Clock Ticking For Josh Elliott At ‘Good Morning America’ With Lara Spencer Re-Signed

By | Thursday March 27, 2014 @ 3:55pm PDT

ABC News’ Good Morning America has signed Lara Spencer to a new contract, leaving Josh Elliott the lone holdout among GMA cast 131385_MG_1346members whose contracts are coming up now, as the morning infotainment show gets buffeted by competitor NBC. That NBC campaign reportedly includes talk with Elliott — who came to GMA from ABC parent Disney’s ESPN — about working for NBC in both news and sports, a sort of next-generation Bob Costas. Similarly, NBC poached GMA weatherman Sam Champion late last year; Champion, who had been with GMA since 2006, left to join NBCUniversal’s The Weather Channel as host of its new morning flagship show, and to become the channel’s managing editor.

gma2__130822170347-275x154Elliott, whose paycheck currently is in the $1.2 million range, is said to be seeking north of $8 million a year — a more than 500% pay hike. According to one industry insider, with Robin Roberts re-signed and now Spencer (George Stephanopoulos’s contract runs through the end of 2014, so he’s not part of this flurry), ABC News may have put a time ultimatum on the table with Elliott, though others say no. Regardless, there’s not much time left what with Elliott having less than four weeks left on his current deal.

So far, the blow-by-blow media coverage of the near-simultaneous contract talks with four of GMA’s five pieces of on-air talent, and reports of jealousy over Robert’s $14 million-ish deal has not dinged GMA’s one-big-happy-family image to a degree that impacts viewing, in the way similar media reports of internecine disharmony did to Today, reaching a fevered pitch around the time of the cringe-inducing denouement of Operation Bambi – aka the ouster of a weepy Ann Curry – in June 2012:

Even after Champion’s departure, for instance, GMA last week delivered its biggest overall audience since Nielsen electronic records began and its best news-demo delivery in eight years. Still it’s considered no coincidence that GMA added Elliott and Spencer to the lineup about a year before GMA eclipsed Today in the ratings.  This puts Elliott in a good position, though he and ABC News are said to still be far apart on price, with the network offering about half his asking price — quite a spread. (For comparison sake, GMA’s George Stephanopoulos reportedly is paid about $6 million a year; his contract runs through this calendar year.) Read More »

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Former TV Anchor Willow Bay To Head USC Journalism School

By | Wednesday March 26, 2014 @ 12:16pm PDT

"Aladdin" On Broadway Opening Night - Arrivals & Curtain CallFormer Good Morning America Sunday co-anchor Willow Bay today was appointed the director of USC’s School of Journalism. “The breadth of Willow Bay’s experiences, skills and talents is extraordinary,” said Ernest Wilson III, dean of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism of the former ABC, CNN and NBC correspondent and Lifetime producer. “Her leadership will help our innovative school aggressively continue our path of creating and defining the digital future.’ Currently an editor at the Huffington Post and a special correspondent for Bloomberg News, Bay will take over her duties at USC in July.  “I look forward to leading the school as it educates and inspires the next generation of journalists and public relations professionals for the future and contributes groundbreaking academic research into these fields,” said Bay today. Bay is married to Disney CEO Bob Iger.

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Malaysian Airliner Search Overnight Drama Keeps TV News Operations Humming: Video

By | Thursday March 20, 2014 @ 7:34am PDT

malaysiaairjet1Around 11:30 PM ET last night word that new satellite images had pinpointed two large objects in the ocean a couple thousand miles off the coast of Australia electrified TV news teams covering missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. Fox New Channel‘s Shepard Smith jumped back on the air at midnight to report on the new development, but anchored from the newsroom studio because it takes a big team to fire up The Deck. CNN  broke into its AC360 repeat at 11:26 PM with CNNI anchor John Vause, with Don Lemon and Richard Quest jumping in at 11:55 PM and Anderson Cooper added at 12:07 AM. MSNBC‘s Betty Nguyen anchored for that network, handing off to Chris Jansing around 2 AM.

ABC‘s lucky David Wright was flying on a U.S. Navy surveillance plane in the Indian Ocean when it was directed to the sightings, and told Nightline “We’ll be the first on the site.” But when ABC’s Good Morning America clocked in this morning, Wright, now back in Perth, reported the surveillance plane had turned up only a freighter and some dolphins. Watch Wright’s GMA report here:


ABC US News | ABC Business News

Watch Shep’s midnight report here: Read More »

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Dark Ratings Cloud Forming Over Sam Champion’s New Weather Channel Show

Day 2 of America’s Morning Headquarters slipped compared to Day 1, which itself was a drop AMHQin each of its hours from the network’s prior four-week average. Sam Champion‘s new Weather Channel program lobbed 186,000 viewers from 7-10 AM Tuesday, 59,000 of them in the news demo. In overall audience, the show’s second telecast dropped 10% compared to Monday’s premiere — and 21% from the prior four-week average in the block of time. In the news demo, AMHQ‘s 59,000 viewers was a fall of 8% compared to its premiere and down 20% from the prior four-week average.

Related: Sam Champion Leaves ‘GMA’ For Weather Channel

While weather plays a role in Weather Channel ratings — and it still cannot be seen on DirecTV, owing to a carriage dispute that broke out in January — Champion’s first two set of ratings are somewhat surprising, given the amount of promotion his network and parent NBCUniversal put behind his launch, including appearances on Howard Stern’s radio show, NBC’s Today, MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Entertainment Tonight, Extra, Inside Edition, etc.

Related: TCA: Weather Channel Tells Critics DirecTV Is Putting Americans At Risk

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ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ Wins Big With Oscars While ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ Enjoys Oscar Glow But Can’t Outshine ‘Tonight Show’

ABC’s Good Morning America – one of this year’s biggest Oscar winners.the-academy-oscars-new-logo-1 The morning infotainment program enjoyed its biggest overall audience — 6.3 million viewers – at least since Nielsen’s electronic records debuted in 1991, and outperformed NBC’s Today by nearly 1 million viewers for the week immediately following the network’s Academy Awards broadcast.  GMA’s news demo haul of 261,000 viewers for the week of March 3 is its best delivery in eight years, handing the show its biggest weekly demo lead over Today in 10 weeks.

Related: ‘Ellen’ Breaks Ratings Records With Post-Oscar Show: Video

JimmyKimmelABC’s late-night show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, also got an Oscar shot in the arm — posting a 14-week high in overall audience and an 11-week best in the demo, while NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon came down week-to-week in the demo as that program finds its new normal with Fallon as host. That said, Fallon’s overall crowd of 4.537 million for the week handily beat Kimmel’s 2.744 million and CBS host David Letterman’s 2.761 million. In the demo, the Tonight Show not only topped JKL it beat its ABC and CBS rivals combined. Read More »

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Live And Well: Morning Shows Gain Ratings Ground Thanks To Stiff Competition & Focus On Interactive Programming

LisaColumn__131015210634-275x198Weekly Column: NBC’s Today made the most of its big “get” this morning — Matt Lauer’s exclusive and chilling interview with Dottie Sandusky, wife of former Penn State assistant football coach/convicted sex offender Jerry Sandusky, in which she said the victims were “manipulated” when they “saw money,” did not scream from the basement of her house as one has claimed, and that her husband having showered with the boys is a generational thing. ABC’s Good Morning America, meanwhile, was touting its talk with ABC News’ Dan Harris about the on-air panic attack he suffered a decade ago – the result, he says, ofGMASocialSquare years spent covering wars abroad and his use of recreational drugs to deal with the emotional aftermath of that war coverage.

Coming out of the Sochi Games, the morning infotainment-show war has never been hotter. Today, which won the two weeks of the Winter Olympics – its first weekly victories since the 2012 London Summer Games – returned aggressively with a Love Your Selfie interactive campaign, a ribbon-cutting on its new outdoor space by NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, and a make-up hug between de Blasio and Today weatherman Al Roker after their much-reported Twitter dust-up. Lauer’s Sandusky exclusive is Today‘s latest sit-down in that aggressive post-Sochi push that also included a chat with Toronto’s click-bait mayor Rob Ford. Even so, GMA jumped back on top in the ratings the very first week after Sochi, and has widened its lead each week, though the gap is still smaller than the 1.1 million lead GMA had on Today this season leading up to Sochi. “All this competition has been good for the viewer – we’re all trying harder, all fighting as hard as we ever have,” Today EP Don Nash told Deadline. “I’ve been at this show 25 years, and I’ve never seen anything like it. … We are fighting for every viewer.”

Related: ‘Today’ Takes February Sweep In Demo While ‘GMA’ Wins Overall Audience Again

Read More »

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‘GMA’ Unveils Social Square, Not To Be Confused with ‘Today’s Orange Room: Video

By | Monday March 10, 2014 @ 9:44am PDT

goodmorningamerica_2012__120411163915__130328183014__130404165656This morning, Good Morning America unveiled the #socialsquare, which it says is a “groundbreaking new digital studio” engaging viewers on a daily basis with the broadcast and social conversation. An expansion of the morning infotainment series’ current Times Square studio, #socialsquare is the new social “nerve center” for the broadcast, featuring installations developed with the leading social media platforms allowing GMA guests to interact with viewers throughout the broadcast, ABC News says. ”This will revolutionize how our show is produced in the morning and its all about engaging directly with our viewers from beginning to end,” GMA senior executive producer Tom Cibrowski said this morning.

More than one person this morning has noted NBC’s Today, which is in a ratings death match with GMA, debuted its like-minded digital space, Orange Room, last September. But, of course, Orange Room is orange, whereas Social Square is pink, and blue — and it has foosball. ”If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, we are deeply and sincerely flattered — and not surprised given our ratings gains, specifically in younger viewers,” Today responded. Here’s GMA‘s reveal this morning:

Related: ‘Today’ Takes February Sweep In Demo While ‘GMA’ Wins Overall Audience

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‘Today’ Takes February Sweep In Demo While ‘GMA’ Wins Seventh Consecutive In Overall Audience

By | Thursday March 6, 2014 @ 9:12am PST

ABC’s Good Morning America won the February sweep in overall audience despite an Olympics boost for today-show__130820101116-275x177 Today, while the NBC morning infotainment show took the ratings derby in the news demo off of which ad sales are made in the daypart. With a Sochi-laden lineup, Today pulled in its best February sweep demos in two years and in overall audience in four, which would put it at the last Winter Games. Today noted it cut its year-to-year gaps with GMA during the sweep by 146% in the demo, and 95% in total viewers. But GMA managed to pull off its seventh consecutive sweep win in overall audience –  and its second-most-watched sweep in more than two decades — in the teeth of Today‘s Olympics-centric February. And, compared to the 2010 February sweep, which coincides with Today‘s boost from the Vancouver Winter Games, GMA climbed 24% in overall audience and 16% in the news demo.
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‘Today’ Hangs On To Demo Lead After Sochi, But ‘GMA’ Leads In Overall Crowd

By | Tuesday February 25, 2014 @ 3:32pm PST

Todayshow07__120726201155-200x129ABC’s Good Morning America attracted more overall viewers on Monday, despite the best efforts of NBC’s Today show to hang on to its Sochi ratings bump –  but Today hung on to the important demo win. GMA outstripped Today by 89,000 viewers overall. The first day after the most recent previous Games — the 2012 London Summer OlympicsGMA had finished behind Today by 301,000 viewers. Today beat GMA on Monday by 92,000 news demo viewers; the Monday after the London Games, Today beat GMA by 102,000 demo viewers.

gma2__130822170347-275x154It’s the first time GMA has beaten Today among total viewers the Monday following the end of the Olympics (when NBC aired the games) since at least 1991. Monday’s Today featured Olympic athletes, a kiss-and-make-up between Al Roker and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who came to cut the ribbon on Today‘s re-done outdoor space, and the removal of Today talent makeup as part of a “Love Your Selfie” series on body image.

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Update: ‘Today Show’ Holds Lead In Sochi Week 2, But Drops Versus Week 1 and ’10 Games

By | Monday February 24, 2014 @ 12:42pm PST

Updated, 1:05 PM: Matt Lauer’s fish pedicure, Al Roker’s Russian lessons, Bode Miller’s defense of interviewer Christin Cooper  all helped NBC’s show edge out ABC’s Good Morning America last week, though its numbers were down compared to the show’s first week from the Sochi Games and compared to the second week of the 2010 Winter Games.

Today averaged 5.866 million viewers last week, according to Nielsen national fast program ratings,  topping ABC’s Good Morning America average of 5.588 million by 5% (278,000nbcsochi__131202172913__140212145821 viewers). That’s a bigger advantage than it snagged during the first week of the just concluded Winter Games. In the news demo, Today averaged 2.317 million viewers, which put it 7% (145,000 viewers) ahead of  GMA’s 2.172 million. Today’s second Sochi Games week overall-audience delivery is up 11% compared to its pre-Games first-quarter average. In the news demo, Week 2 jumped 183% compared to its pre-Games first-quarter average.

That’s the good news. Now, the rest: Today had averaged 6.134 million viewers during the first week of Sochi Games — this week’s haul represents a 4% drop. Four years ago, Today averaged 6.276 million viewers during the second week of Winter Olympics. In the demo, Today had averaged 2.506 million demo viewers — 8% better than Week 2.  And, four years ago, Today clocked 2.925 milllion demo viewers during the second week of Winter Games competition.

Meanwhile, GMA in Sochi Week 2 is up 21% in viewers of all ages … Read More »

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‘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.

Read More »

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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.”

Read More »

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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 also snagging its closest total-viewer position relative to front-runner GMA in nearly a year.

Related: Bryant Gumbel And Jane Pauley To Reunite On ‘Today’

Today actually outstripped GMA in the news demo on every morning of the week except Friday, when GMA posted a commanding 212,000 lead – its  second-largest Friday margin of the season over the NBC program. On Monday, Today led by a mere 1,000 demo viewers, Tuesday by 26,000 and Thursday by 67,000. But Wednesday, when GMA sent Robin Roberts and Josh Elliott to the Vatican to cover the huge crowd gathered to hear Pope Francis’ last public-speaking engagement of 2013 (the pope having just been named Time magazine’s Person of the Year), GMA fell 211,000 viewers behind Today. That wiped out GMA’s boost on Friday, when Roberts hosted GMA’s review of the year, in partnership with People magazine.

On the bright side for GMA, all three of the broadcast network morning infotainment programs were up in ratings compared to same week last year, though Today showed the most growth, percentage-wise:  12% in overall audience and 16% in the demo.

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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 executive produced by Liz Gateley and Tony DiSanto (and produced by their Diga Vision), who acquired the rights. They’re still working on securing writers and closing various deals, an informed source says. The source adds that Stelter, who covered media for the New York Times when he wrote the blah-ly reviewed book, has had virtually no involvement with the project — though word of the deal first broke on TVNewser, which Stelter founded, along with TV Guide. Stelter, meanwhile, has moved on from NYT and is now senior media reporter and Reliable Sources host at CNN.

And now, to  the important stuff — casting! Who should play Matt Lauer? Ann Curry? George Stephanopoulos? Robin Roberts? Sam Champion?

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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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