‘Today’ streak rolls on but ayemer ‘GMA’ gains

Leno beats out Letterman in key demo

NEW YORK — NBC’s “Today” took its 36th straight sweeps title in November and is closing in on its ninth year in the lead, but as in the latenight derby, the competition for top ayem show is getting tighter.

ABC’s “Good Morning America,” posted its largest audience since 1992 and narrowed the gap between it and the dominant “Today” to 740,000 total viewers, the smallest margin since “Today” took the morning crown in 1995.

Last year the margin between “Today” and “GMA” stood at 1.3 million viewers.

“GMA” also managed to cut the “Today” lead in the key adults 25-54 demo by 20%, with 630,000 viewers separating the two programs.

“Today” finished November sweeps averaging 6.1 million viewers, “GMA” had 5.4 million, and CBS’ “The Early Show” finished with 3 million.

While remaining a distant third, “The Early Show” gained 96,000 viewers, or 3%, in the first 11 weeks of the season, while “Today” lost 275,000 viewers, or 4%, and “GMA” gained 106,000 viewers, or 2%.

“Early Show” audience was at its highest level in total viewers in 10 years.

NBC was also dominant in late night, with “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” delivering a 17% margin over “The Late Show With David Letterman” in the key demographic of adults 18-49.

But CBS’ “Letterman” is closing the gap, finishing the November sweeps up 10% in total viewers from last year and turning in its best sweeps in total viewers since 1994.

“Letterman” finished in the show’s closest competitive position to “Leno” in adults 25-54 since 1994 and in adults 18-34 and 18-49 since 2001.

Show has beaten or tied “Leno” in 25-54 and 18-49 in seven of the last eight Monday nights.

On Sunday mornings, NBC’s “Meet the Press With Tim Russert” turned in an average audience of 4.5 million total viewers during the November sweep, a 12% increase over last year.

CBS’ second place “Face the Nation” stayed flat from last year, while ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” grew 3% in total viewers and Fox Broadcasting’s “Fox News Sunday” dropped 5%.

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