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‘Today’ nips ‘GMA’ in tug of war

NBC News president Andrew Lack’s pledge of a back-and-forth early morning battle appears to be materializing, with “Today” edging “Good Morning America” for the third time in the last five weeks.

The NBC breakfastcast pulled in a 3.9 rating, 20 share in Nielsen daytime and fringe ratings for Aug. 2-6, compared to a 3.8/19 for “GMA” and “CBS This Morning’s” 2.5/12.

“Today” also took top honors among adults 18-49 with a 1.7 rating to ABC’s 1. 4 and CBS’ 0.9. “GMA” retains a household lead of 4.0/20 to 3.8/19 through six weeks of the third quarter.

ABC narrowed the daytime ratings gap but couldn’t catch CBS, whose household streak now stands at 231 weeks. The Eye network averaged a 5.5/20 to ABC’s 5.1/ 17 and a 3.4/12 for CBS, which held onto most of its gains from the prior week.

Averages among women 18-49, the key sales demo in daytime, show ABC with a 3. 9 rating, CBS at 3.0 and 2.1 for NBC.

“Nightline” and “The Tonight Show” tied in their common half-hour with a 5.0/ 13, giving the ABC News show at least a piece of the top spot the past six weeks.

Overall, “Tonight” averaged a 4.4/13 and CBS’ “Crime Time” shows a 2.8/9. Both CBS and ABC averages exclude Aug. 3, when there were overruns due to President Clinton’s primetime address.

Fox Children’s Network continued to rule the Saturday morning roost with an average 4.6 rating among kids 2-11, compared to 4.5 for CBS (preempted on the West Coast by baseball) and ABC’s 3.5.

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