ABC ties NBC in demo, but Olympics should aid 'Today'

The Olympics couldn’t be coming at a better time for NBC’s “Today.”

The morning program, which has lost its leadership position in the ratings to ABC’s “Good Morning America,” will certainly benefit from being surrounded by the network’s blanket coverage of the London Games.

Nielsen data released Thursday revealed that “GMA” has now topped “Today” in total viewers for four straight weeks, capturing the July 16-20 frame by its largest margin yet (353,000). The ABC show averaged 4.598 million viewers to 4.245 million for the NBC program.

“GMA” also earned a share of first place in the key news demo of adults 25-54 — its first time atop both key measurements in nearly 17 years — with both it and “Today” averaging 1.74 million viewers in the demo last week.

“Today” hoped to stanch “GMA’s” momentum by replacing Ann Curry with Savannah Guthrie in the co-host seat alongside Matt Lauer earlier this month. But so far, that change has only exacerbated the NBC show’s ratings troubles.

As viewers get caught up in Olympic fever, NBC typically sees ratings surges across the day. That should help “Today,” which will be broadcasting every morning during the Games, which kick off Friday night on NBC and conclude Aug. 12.

Season-to-date through July 20, NBC’s “Today” remained the leader in total viewers (by 322,000) and adults 25-54 (by 353,000 viewers), but it is down vs. last year in these categories by 5% and 10%, respectively. ABC’s “GMA,” meanwhile, has improved by 4% in total viewers and by 6% in adults 25-54.

Despite the recent surge by “GMA,” the network’s experiment with “Good Afternoon America” hasn’t gotten off to a very good start.

Last week, its second of six weeks on the air, the hourlong “GAA” averaged 1.79 million viewers, according to Nielsen, losing head-to-head to CBS’ “The Talk” (2.02 million). The Eye program also led in key demos.

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