Matt Lauer's surprise exit from Today seems to have sent the show surging ahead of its competition.
For the second consecutive week, the first two hours of NBC's morning broadcast program have charged ahead of its main competitor, ABC's Good Morning America, among overall audiences and in the 25 to 54 demographic, which is most admirable to advertisers.
Though Today typically earns the top spot in viewership among the advertiser demographic, GMA is the most-watched morning program across all age groups.
The NBC broadcast captured an average of nearly 4.58 million viewers during the week of Dec. 3, according to Nielsen, and 1.64 million in the 25 to 54 market. ABC's show came in as runner-up with 4.38 million overall viewers and nearly 1.38 million in the advertiser demographic. Trailing in third was CBS' CBS This Morning, which brought in an average 3.57 million total viewers with 916,000 between 25 and 54.
This is the first time the show has won the ratings game for two straight weeks since late 2016, when it beat GMA in total viewership during the weeks of December 12 and December 19 last year.
Though many predicted a decline in ratings for Today following the swift termination of Lauer, its two-decade veteran co-host, it appears that people are instead flocking to the program.
Lauer's termination was announced by co-host Savannah Guthrie on Nov. 29, when she fought back tears to deliver the emotional news. In the days that followed, Guthrie and her co-anchors shared updates on alleged sexual misconduct claims against their former colleague, including an apology statement by Lauer.
The surprise firing could be a reason for NBC's recent spike in ratings, Variety reports. Last week, Good Morning America's typical broadcast hours were cut short by coverage of wildfires in California, which may have also affected national viewership.0comments
People may also be tuning in to Today as the network shuffles to find a permanent replacement for Lauer. Sources report anchors Craig Melvin, Willie Geist and Carson Daly are in the running for the position, but no official statement from NBC has been made concerning their talent search or their timeline to fill the seat.