Gibson exits on high note

'GMA' goodbye bests 'Today' show ratings

Charlie Gibson beat the “Today” show as he walked out the door.

Rain-dampened “Good Morning America” farewell to its ayem father figure gave the show a rare ratings win over NBC’s “Today.”

ABC’s homage to Gibson drew 5.6 million viewers, according to Nielsen’s fast program ratings, beating “Today” by 741,000 total viewers and 94,000 in the 25-54 demographic.

“GMA” tally represents a 1 million-viewer gain over the show’s 4.6 million viewers the day before Gibson’s last morning as co-host and its highest total since March 14.

ABC had hoped to fete Gibson’s 19 years on the show with a Times Square block party, but driving rain and flooding forced the celebration inside and caused difficulty with some of the celebrity guests.

Still, Kermit and Cal Ripken showed, along with “GMA” vets Joan Lunden, Tony Perkins and David Hartman.

Gibson’s was a relatively small affair compared with the 8.4 million, on average, that watched Katie Couric’s last day on “Today.”

Last week, “Today” turned in another weekly win, averaging 5.1 million viewers, compared with 4.4 million for “GMA.”

So far in 2006, “Today” has averaged 6.1 million viewers, compared with 5.1 million for “GMA” and 2.9 million for CBS’ “The Early Show.”

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