NEW YORK — It’s safe to say the Peacock’s “Today” show owns weekday mornings, and the folks at ABC are wringing their hands over what to do about “Good Morning America.”
NBC announced Thursday that “Today” beat “GMA” in last week’s ratings by the widest margin in 17 years. For the week of Dec. 8-12, “Today” scored a 5.5 rating and a 22 share, compared with the Alphabet web’s “America,” with a 3.5/14. CBS’ “This Morning” was third with a 2.7/11.
In terms of total viewers, an NBC spokesman said, “Today” is up 12% over the same week a year ago, while “GMA” is down 10%.
ABC declined to comment.
The two-point lead is yet another blow to the beleaguered ABC show, which news chairman Roone Arledge has called the biggest problem facing his division.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Arledge and division prexy David Westin denied reports that the departure of show co-host Charlie Gibson is a done deal. Gibson has reportedly accepted an offer to host A&E’s “Biography” (the fates of current co-hosts Peter Graves and Jack Perkins are undetermined).
“We talked with Charlie this morning about different roles he could fill at ABC News,” Arledge said.
Anchor Peter Jennings added that there was a “strong journalists’ lobby” to keep Gibson in the division. Sources say, however, that Gibson feels it’s time to say goodbye.
Because Gibson’s contract has a clause keeping him on the show for six months after announcing intent to leave, Westin said the division has a while to decide on who will join Gibson co-host Lisa McRee.
Former “Fox After Breakfast” host Tom Bergeron had been considered a favorite, but Arledge’s extensive praise of “GMA’s” news anchor Kevin Newman on Wednesday made the former ABC News reporter appear to be the leading contender for the time being.
Asked about recent reports that he had told affiliates he wished “GMA” was not part of the news division, Arledge said the remarks had been an “attempt at humor.”