John Oliver Visits Jimmy Fallon, Matt Lauer To Promote HBO ‘Last Week Tonight’ Debut: Video

John Oliver took the NBC package deal to promote the launch of his new HBO late night show, Last Week Tonight this coming Sunday. Oliver stopped by Tonight show last night, where he made fun of Jimmy Fallon‘s interview style and talked about friends’ reaction to his final The Daily Show appearance:

Earlier this week, Oliver so deftly explained to Today show’s Matt Lauer why his satirical show would not bother to cover a report that had just been featured on Today, that Lauer barely noticed he’d been dinged: Read More »

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‘Today’s Matt Lauer And Al Roker Get In On ‘Sharknado 2′: Video

By | Wednesday April 2, 2014 @ 7:47am PDT

“We can officially announce we shot cameos Tuesday,” Today co-anchor Matt Lauer announced this morning on the program, of his sharknadoappearance with Today weatherman Al Roker in Syfy‘s upcoming Sharknado sequel, Sharknado 2, debuting July 30 on the fellow NBCUniversal network. Lauer’s co-host Savannah Guthrie, giving the performance of her lifetime, responded that she is “wildly jealous.” Today played a clip in which Roker, on the Today set, explains to Lauer, “This is a twister with teeth.” Lauer contributes: “Enough said indeed, Al, Thank you very much.”  The cameo was shot yesterday. Lauer also showed a clip in which he uses a Today orange umbrellas to stab something that looked like it came from the fish department of Whole Foods, only wrapped in green fabric. “I can’t believe we gave away the whole climax of the movie,” Lauer said. “I’ll remind you the Golden Globes are next January — who are you wearing?” Guthrie snarked.

In Sharknado 2, “a freak weather system turns its deadly fury on New York City, unleashing a ‘sharknado’ on the city’s population and its most iconic sites,” Syfy has said of the sequel. The original orgy of bad special effects and even worse acting had triggered a social media feeding frenzy among journalists and celebrities when it premiered last July. Read More »

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Jimmy Fallon’s ‘Tonight Show’ Luge Gag Delights ‘Today’ Team: Video

By | Tuesday February 18, 2014 @ 7:36am PST

NBC’s Today team this morning celebrated making the opening monologue in Jimmy Fallon’s celebrity-strewn Tonight Show debut last night. “The screaming actually came from their sled,” Jimmy Fallon had joked as he showed a clip of spandex-ed Al Roker and Matt Lauer making their return to … Read More »

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UPDATE: NBC Olympics EP Jim Bell Defends Bode Miller Interview About Dead Brother That Brought Him To Tears (Video)

By | Monday February 17, 2014 @ 10:50am PST

LisaColumn__131015210634-275x198UPDATE: 10:45 AM: NBC Olympics executive producer Jim Bell said this morning it would have been “irresponsible” of NBC had the network not asked U.S. Olympic skier Bode Miller questions about his dead brother, and U.S. skeleton racer Noelle Pikus-Pace questions about a miscarriage she suffered a few years ago, during its coverage of the two athletes’ respective medal wins. Bell insisted he’d do the same if covering any other sport, but that it’s especially important with “Olympics particularly, because people don’t know these athletes…It’s a bigger responsibility to share” this personal information, he insisted, in order “to get viewers to connect with those athletes…and their sports.”

bodemiller1Bell said he understood the reaction to particularly the Miller interview, and the public’s tendency to “take to Twitter to vent a little about it.” In the interview, conducted after Bode’s bronze medal Super-G run on Sunday and run at length during NBC’s primetime coverage last night, Olympics reporter Christin Cooper asked him multiple questions about his brother, as Bode choked up, and only ended when Bode doubled over weeping, then walked away. Bode’s brother died in April of an apparent seizure that may have been connected to a motorcycle accident.

In a phone call with press this morning, Bell maintained that, the “storyline about Bode” had been set up on the network’s Olympics broadcast the night before the interview, and he “felt it was important to finish it up.” He noted Miller himself took to Twitter to defend Cooper and that Bode had come on NBC’s Today this morning to tell viewers he did not blame her for the questions. “He said he thought it was fine and he stood by her,” Bell said, adding that should “take some of the temperature down on” the kerfuffle over that interview and the interview Meredith Vieira did with Pikus-Pace in which she asked the athlete about a miscarriage she suffered a few years ago. Bell, who was on the phoner to talk about Bob Costas’ return to the air tonight — a subject that quickly got overshadowed by questions about the Miller and Pikus-Pace interviews — said  “the way it played out was fine.”

In a statement about the Bode interview issued after Bode appeared on Today show,  NBC said: “Our intent was to convey the emotion that Bode Miller was feeling after winning his bronze medal.  We understand how some viewers thought the line of questioning went too far, but it was our judgment that his answers were a necessary part of the story. We’re gratified that Bode has been publicly supportive of Christin Cooper and the overall interview.”

PREVIOUS, 6:10 AM: NBC This morning asked Bodenbcsochi__131202172913 Miller, in so many words, to come to the defense of its Olympics reporter Christin Cooper, who has been under fire since she caused Olympic skier to double over and weep, with repeated questions about his brother’s death during an interview. (Watch after the jump).

Cooper has taken a lot of heat for going way too far in that interview she did with Miller after he won a bronze medal in the men’s Super-G ski race Sunday. Cooper became a Twitter trending topic – and not in a good way — almost immediately after it aired in full during NBC’s primetime coverage of the interview.  “We’re not done until you sob, Bode!” said one tweeter, pretending to be an NBC Sports exec. Read More »

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Meredith Vieira To Anchor Second Night Of NBC’s Primetime Sochi Games Coverage As Bob Costas Recovers

By | Saturday February 15, 2014 @ 8:20am PST

Meredith Vieira will host NBC’sMeredithVieira110913221045-275x275 primetime coverage of the Sochi Olympics again tonight. Last night she made history, becoming the first woman to ever anchor NBC’s primetime Olympics coverage. She’s filling in for Bob Costas, whose Read More »

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UPDATE: Meredith Vieira Steps In For Bob Costas At Sochi Games, Makes TV History

By | Friday February 14, 2014 @ 6:34pm PST

MeredithVieira110913221045-275x275UPDATE, 6:30 PM: “At an Olympics, there is no way to know what will happen at the moment everything matters most — no guarantee you’ll turn all that preparation into perfection,” Meredith Vieira said tonight at the International Broadcast Center in Sochi as she kicked off NBC’s primetime broadcast of Olympics competition held earlier in the day. The comment was particularly appropriate under the circumstances: Vieira, who’d been brought to Sochi to co-host the Opening Ceremony with Matt Lauer and had been doing segments for Today on U.S. athletes to watch at the Games since, was tapped to replace Bob Costas as the network’s primetime Games anchor, taking over for Lauer, who’d pulled double duty for three days. Costas still is battling an infection in both eyes that makes studio lighting his enemy.

Related: Sochi Olympics’ First Wednesday Ratings Free-Fall From 2010

nbcsochi__131202172913__140212145821Vieira is on duty for at least one night – possibly two, according to NBC’s Games EP Jim Bell, who called her the best choice for the gig among a considerable stable of talent at Sochi because her schedule was most flexible. For a TV veteran whose new syndicated daytime talk show is set to launch in the fall, the Sochi exposure is a gift. Before Costas, former Today anchor Bryant Gumbel served as primetime host of NBC’s Olympic coverage and was preceded by Curt Gowdy and Bill Henry, making Vieira the first woman to do the job. Hannah Storm, Mary Carillo, Gayle Gardner and Jane Pauley have previously hosted NBC’s daytime and late-night Olympic coverage.

“It’s so funny, I woke up this morning and I was feeling fine, and now my eyes are killing me,” Vieira joshed on Today this morning when her new assignment was announced. “I watched you guys [Lauer and Al Roker] attempt the luge. I think I’m going blind.” Read More »

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Bob Costas Out Third Day At Sochi But Hopes To Return By Weekend; Matt Lauer Back In Primetime Tonight

By | Thursday February 13, 2014 @ 8:44am PST

Bob Costas has had to call in sick a third day at SochiNBC Sports tweeted this morning that Costas, who’d been missing from the past two nbcsochi__131202172913days of Olympics broadcasts owing to a nasty case of pinkeye, will … Read More »

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UPDATE: NBC’s Sochi Olympics 5-Day Ratings Even With Vancouver 2010, Leaps Ahead Of Torino 2006

By | Wednesday February 12, 2014 @ 2:25pm PST

nbcsochi__131202172913__140212145821UPDATE, 2:25 PM: Maybe Matt Lauer should sit in for Bob Costas more often on NBC’s Olympics primetime coverage. Costas’ eye infection may have taken the veteran Olympics broadcaster out of the chair for a bit but the ratings are moving up for the network. With last night’s results proving a big help, NBC now finds its national household 5-day average of 14.4/23 steady with Vancouver over the same period (14.5/24) and up 13% from the same span at Torino (12.7/20). That’s an apples to apples average counting the 5-days since the Opening Ceremony on February 7 with the same periods from the last two Winter Games. What’s also of note is that the coverage from the Sochi games is tape-delayed while coverage from our nearby West Coast Northern neighbor was essentially live.

Related: NBC Says Olympics Ratings Proves Primetime Strategy Is Working

What made this a real Olympic tie was the final numbers from last night. NBCs Sochi broadcast on Tuesday solidified its best result yet compared to the Vancouver 2010 games. The net’s 8 PM – 11:03 PM coverage scored a 13.7/22 national household rating and averaged 23.7 million viewers. That’s a 12% rise over the national HH ratings on the comparable night of Vancouver 2010 on February 16 that year and a 17% jump in viewership from the 20.3 million who watched that night 4 years ago. In contrast to the last European held Winter Games, NBC surged up 21% over the 11.3/18 result of the similar night of the Torino 2006 Winter Games. Last night’s coverage leaped up 29% from the 18.4 million who watched the network’s prime broadcast 8 years ago.

PREVIOUS, 8:44 AM: The absence of Bob Costas due to an eye infection, his replacement Matt Lauer and no gold medal for U.S. snowboarder Shaun White were the big stories of NBC‘s Olympics primetime coverage last night. Not that those surprises were a bad thing ratingswise: the first Tuesday of the Sochi Games drew a 6.6/18 in preliminary ratings among adults 18-49, up a strong 20% from the 5.5 of the comparable night of the Vancouver Winter Games on February 16, 2010. With more of the ever-popular lauer 1skating, freestyle skiing and women’s luge, NBC’s broadcast Tuesday was watched by 23.7 million, a 16% rise in total viewers over the 20.5 million who watched the same night in Vancouver. The night marked the biggest viewers and demo gains over the Vancouver Games that NBC has seen since it started its Sochi coverage on February 6. Facing repeats and a spattering of originals except on Fox, NBC easily won the night. Fox and Univision tied for the ratings silver with a 1.2/3, while CBS’ encores hooked in 7.76 million viewers

Last night’s Olympics primetime package drew a 14.5/22 in overnight metered-markets, with Minneapolis again proving the No. 1 market with a 21.8/36.  To put things in a bit more context, the first Tuesday of the Vancouver Games garnered a national rating of 12.2/19 with 20.3 million viewers in the final numbers. The comparable night of the Torino 2006 games drew an 11.3/18 national rating. We’ll update with Tuesday’s final numbers when they come in.

Read More »

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Bob Costas Out Another Day As NBC’s Sochi Olympics Primetime And Late-Night Anchor

By | Wednesday February 12, 2014 @ 6:14am PST

Bob Costas, NBC‘s primetime and late-nightnbcsochi__131202172913 Olympics anchor, is out a second day — felled by swollen, weepy eyes. “I don’t know if I’m the first person to break it to you, but you’re coming out of the bullpen again tonight, Matt,” Costas phoned in to Matt Lauer this morning during the What’s Trending portion of Today show in Sochi. Costas and his pink-ish, teary eyes had been trending for a while — Costas having LauerCostas__140212022317-275x155shown up last Thursday to anchor early Games coverage sporting a badly swollen left eye, glasses, and an apology to viewers. Tuesday was a big/bad day for NBC, with both Costas and Shaun White suffering the end of their streaks. White, who NBC had hoped would be its Big Story of the Sochi Games, lost out on his bid for a third consecutive gold in the halfpipe, going home with no medals from Sochi; Costas ended his uninterrupted run as anchor of NBC’s Olympics broadcasts since the late ’80s.

Lauer made his debut asmatt-lauer-2014-winter-olympics (1) fill-in anchor last night, telling viewers Costas’ eyes were so infected he looked like the loser in a prize fight. “How are you doing? So many people are rooting for you and worrying about you a little bit,” Savannah Guthrie asked Costas this morning — after noting Lauer’s  “great reviews” for replacing him. Read More »

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UPDATE: Matt Lauer Shuns Bob Costas’ Vodka-Shot Therapy As He Fills In On NBC’s Primetime Olympics Coverage

By | Tuesday February 11, 2014 @ 6:03pm PST

UPDATE, 5:50 PM PT: SochiOlympicsNBC__131021180345__140123184857“We’re back now with a good opportunity to welcome in our Mary Carillo, and she’s about to bring us our nightly dose of Russian culture and no vodka tonight – please. You saw what happened last night,” Matt Lauer joked tonight as he fills in for Bob Costas on NBC‘s primetime Olympics coverage. LauerCostasHe’s referring to the previous night’s primetime coverage when Costas abandoned NBC doctors’ treatment for his ever-worsening eye infections, and went instead with vodka, telling Carillo during one of her Russian-culture segments as he downed what was billed as a good-ish dose of  the Russian booze: “My eyes can’t get any redder.” Polishing off his drink, he predicted, “Tomorrow morning I’ll be lying on a curb in Minsk.”

PREVIOUS, 4:30 PM PT: “I’m Matt Lauer, in for Bob Costas tonight. If you’ve been following along the last several days you know Bob’s been battling — and that’s an understatement — an eye infection that’s traveled a little bit,” Lauer said at the top of tonight’s NBC primetime coverage of Tuesday competition. ” I saw him in the hotel this morning — he looked a little like the loser in a prize fight.”

Walking up to the primetime coverage, NBC’s evening newscaster Brian Williams told viewers, “Bob Costas took himself out of the lineup for tonight as he deals with that eye infection,” ending a “Ripkin-like iron man streak of 157 straight primetime Olympics broadcasts that goes back to Barcelona in ’92.”

Related: NBC’s Brian Williams Newscast Attracts 16 Million Viewers From Sochi On Sunday

Read More »

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UPDATE: Media Mulls Bob Costas’ Eyes, Johnny Weir’s Blazer At Sochi Olympics (Video)

By | Tuesday February 11, 2014 @ 9:50am PST

2ND UPDATE: 9:30 AM: NBC commentator Johnny Weir’s Tuesday Olympics blazer is being discussed in various outlets as an homage to Bob Costas‘ eyes:

pinkeye

UPDATE, 8:30 AM: NBC has issued a news release about Bob Costas’ decision to end his streak of 157 nightsnbcsochi__131202172913 of Olympics coverage.  The network reiterated what Costas announced this morning on Today: that Matt Lauer will host NBC’s Olympic primetime and late-night shows tonight in place of Costas, who has an eye infection. In the news release, Costas says he bowed out tonight because, “as a practical matter, I simply couldn’t do my job because my eyes had become so blurry, watery and sensitive to light.” He added: “I’m hopeful the symptoms will improve in the next couple of days and I can return to the broadcast. Also, the last thing I want is to go through the rest of my life owing Matt Lauer a bunch of favors.”

bob costasTonight marks the first time since CBS presented the Nagano Olympic Winter Games in 1998 that someone other than Costas will host an Olympics primetime show. It’s also the first time since 1988 that someone other than Costas will host the Olympic primetime show on NBC — a remarkable 157 straight nights. “I’m happy to keep his chair warm. Although I might Purell it before I sit in it!” Lauer said in the announcement, which noted Costas is listed as ‘day to day’ on the NBC injury report.

Costas’ full statement: Read More »

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Matt Lauer To Host ‘Going For Gold’

NBC announced this morning Matt Lauer will host GoingMattLauer__130326235800-e1364342305297-200x272 For Gold — and yet,  it’s not a Sochi Olympics walk-up. It’s a celebrity-studded walk-up to the network’s broadcast of the Golden Globe Awards, is an NBC News production, and will air Friday at 8 PM. If it’s Sochi Olympics walk-up you’re looking for, NBC will broadcast Shaun White: Russia Calling on January 25 — an hour-long program examining how the two-time gold medal winner balances work and play while prepping for the Games. It is not produced by NBC News, instead by Shaun White Enterprises, with Shaun White exec producing, and promises, modestly, to be “a rare inside look into the challenges and sacrifices that are made in order to be the best in the world.”

From NBC’s Going For Gold announcement: 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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Bryant Gumbel And Jane Pauley To Reunite On ‘Today’ On December 30

By | Thursday December 26, 2013 @ 5:24pm PST

NBC’s Today will take a loving look back at when it was tops in the ratings, on December 30, when it brings back former anchors Bryant Todayshow07__120726201155-200x129Gumbel and Jane Pauley to co-anchor the morning show. Gumbel and Pauley were co-anchors of TodayRead More »

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UPDATE: Matt Lauer, Al Roker Get Prostate Exams Live On ‘Today’: Video

By | Thursday November 7, 2013 @ 10:08am PST

“We should mention, we’re going to do this in a tasteful way — this is not The Learning Channel,” Savannah Guthrie said at the top of the hour on the Today show this morning, when Matt Lauer and Al Roker got prostate exams live, on the air, on ratings-hungry Today. Turns out, a tasteful, live, on-air prostate exam involves watching Lauer open a door, enter another room, close the door, after which the Ladies of Today vamp for 34 seconds until Matt emerges from behind the door and his doctor pronounces his prostate small, smooth, and nodule-free. It’s not as dull as, say, CNN’s Crossfire, but it doesn’t hold a candle to Katie Couric’s Celebrity Colonoscopy, about 13 years ago, on Today.

That live on-air colonoscopy changed how many Americans viewed the procedure. But back then, we watched Katie prep the night before, we listened to her talk about the death of her husband from colon cancer; Katie was sedated and therefore charmingly semi-loopy in her hospital gown at the hospital for the procedure. We watched in horror/fascination, as the little camera snaked its way up Katie’s intestine with Katie and her doctor proving commentary. It was gripping stuff. Matt and Al walking behind a door lacks drama. (continued)

Read More »

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‘Today’s Matt Lauer And Al Roker To Get Live Prostate Exams On Tomorrow’s Show

By | Wednesday November 6, 2013 @ 3:41pm PST

More than 13 years ago, morning infotainment ratings leader Today aired Katie Couric’s Celebrity Colonoscopy and changed how many Americans viewed that screening. Tomorrow, Matt Lauer and Al Roker will get prostate exams live, on the air, on the now-ratings-hungry morning show. When Today made a star of Couric’s colon in March 2000, nearly 6.7 million viewers tuned in to watch that day. To put that in perspective, it’s about how many viewers tuned in to Today for updates the morning after President Obama successfully pulled off the taking down of Osama bin Laden. Hoping to re-create the ratings magic, Lauer and Roker will get their prostates checked out, live, by a doctor and discuss the importance of prostate screening for men over 40.

When she left the show in June 2006, Couric said on her final broadcast that undergoing the first televised colonoscopy was her proudest accomplishment. 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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Miley Cyrus Takes “Strategic Hot Mess” Tour To ‘Today’, Tells Matt Lauer He’s Too Old To Be Sexual

By | Monday October 7, 2013 @ 4:37pm PDT

NBC no doubt hopes Miley CyrusToday show appearance this morning cops better ratings than did her Saturday Night Live hosting/performing gig over the weekend. Undaunted by NCAA football’s best effort  to nuke her SNL numbers with a nearly half-hour delay, trouper Cyrus packed up her Strategic Hot Mess Tour and sashayed on over to Today to make some news, telling Matt Lauer he’s too old to be sexy, or to understand her VMA performance.

Matt needs the ratings — all good.

Related: ‘SNL’ Cold Open: Miley Backstage At VMAs

Miley was the only one who mentioned the half-hour football delay — deadline in late-night — that no doubt kept her Twerking Michele Bachmann performance from becoming all the talk on the Sunday Beltway shows the next morning. That football overrun kept Miley from setting any SNL ratings records on the heels of her gone-viral VMA twerkformance. That said, SNL’s delayed-viewing stats will no doubt be even higher than usual. Matt instead, after praising her “really great showing on Saturday Night Live,” wondered if the seasoned pro — who has been slapped in front of TV cameras since around the turn of the century, starred in her own comedy series from ’06-’11, upstaged Justin Timberlake at the VMAs, and had hosted SNL before — was nervous on the late-night stalwart over the weekend. Miley politely explained that she was not. Then Matt said he would never be able to look at another foam finger or wrecking ball the same way again and wondered if it has been harder than she’d expected to navigate the transition from kid star to adult star, and if she was surprised by the attention she’s been getting of late. (Watch Miley talk to Matt after the jump.)

Related: FCC Airs Miley Cyrus Twerking Complaints
Read 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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