Morning shows soar; ‘Today’ tops ‘GMA’

Form held across the board in Nielsen daytime and fringe ratings for the week of Oct. 19-23, as NBC’s “Today” won a narrow victory while CBS notched daytime and Saturday-morning wins.

The morning saw a surge in ratings for all three breakfastcasts, with “Today” edging “Good Morning America” with a 4.3 rating, 20 share to the ABC show’s 4.2/ 19. “Today” also posted a 1.9/22 with adults 18-49, while ABC drew a 1.7/20 in that demographic.

It was also a good week for “CBS This Morning,” which drew its best numbers ( 3.0/14) for a normal week since March 1991. The network drew a 1.1 rating among the key adult demo.

The story was as usual reversed in daytime, where CBS won its 190th straight household ratings victory but ABC held a wide lead in the women 18-49 bracket, with a 3.8 average rating to CBS’ 3.1 and a 1.9 for NBC. Household figures were CBS (5.5/22), ABC (4.5/17) and NBC (2.8/11).

CBS offers an hour more of programming than the other webs but has confirmed that it will drop that hour, currently occupied by “Family Feud,” next year (Daily Variety, Oct. 29). “Feud” pulled a 2.4/11 last week.

After topping repeats of “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” a week earlier, “Nightline” (4.9/14) was back in second in their common half-hour, with “Tonight” pulling a 5.1/14 at 11:30 and 4.2/13 overall. CBS’ “Crime Time” shows averaged a 3.0/11.

CBS held a narrow lead in the children’s arena in terms of households, with a 3.3/12 to ABC’s 3.2/12, while the Fox Children’s Network (2.7/11) remains extremely competitive in that daypart. The Eye network was also first among children age 2-11 for the sixth consecutive week with an average 6.2 rating in that demo, compared to ABC’s 5.1 and a 4.9 for Fox. NBC averaged a 2.5/10 with its Saturday fare, including “Today.” The lineup was cleared in 76% of the United States, compared to at least 93% coverage for the other three services.

NBC’s weekend highlights included a 2.3/10 and 3.1/13, respectively, for its Saturday and Sunday editions of “Today”–the highest rating for the latter since last January. “Meet the Press” also drew its top rating since February 1991.

CBS again posted the top weekend sports number with a 16.1/41 for its football game, vs. a 7.0/18 and 12.8/27 for NBC’s double-header. ABC scored a 6. 3/17 Saturday with college football, easily topping NBC’s Notre Dame gridcast, which hailed a 4.1/13.

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