Per fast nationals, ABC ayem show is first after 16-year drought

There is cautious optimism at ABC News where, according to fast nationals from Nielsen, the division’s ayem staple “Good Morning America” outdrew “Today” last week in total viewers for the first time in 16 years.

Official numbers won’t be revealed until Thursday, but if the data holds up the news will be a big change in the morning viewing habits of national auds who often turn on their TV before leaving home for work or school.

From April 9-13, “GMA” drew 5.14 million to 5.13 million for “Today,” with a narrow gap of 13,000 viewers separating the two. “Today” has held the weekly record since Dec. 4, 1995. In the news friendly 25-54 demo, however, “Today” still held its longtime advantage by 250,000 viewers.

Compared to a year ago, “GMA” improved on the week by 7% while “Today” dropped 9%.

“This is an exciting day but we will save any celebrating for when the final numbers come in on Thursday,” said senior exec producer Tom Cibrowski.

While the previous week there was plenty of stunting from both shows — “GMA” brought in former Peacock vet Katie Couric while “Today” had Sarah Palin in studio for a day — this past week the only change was that “GMA” anchor Robin Roberts returned from a week of vacation.

“GMA” has been closing the “Today” lead for several weeks and the margin between the two dropped to 187,000 from April 2-6.

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