‘Good Morning America’ Is Back on Top Among TV’s Morning-News Viewers

Well, that didn’t last very long.

ABC’s “Good Morning America” regained its lead in total viewers from NBC’s “Today,”one week after a glitch in the way the Disney-owned network reported the show to Nielsen resulted in “Today” attaining a rare victory in that particular viewership category.

The two programs have been locked in a scorched-earth battle for months, with the NBC program making significant gains on its ABC rival after ceding the first-place spot it had held for years in the wake of the ouster of co-host Ann Curry and a move to lighter, sometimes more lurid, fare. While “GMA” triumphed over “Today” in the summer of 2012 in both total audience and viewers 25-54, the demographic most coveted by advertisers, “Today” has made gains against its competitor. For weeks, “Today” has edged out “GMA” in the advertiser demo, a gain that could have significant effects on the way Madison Avenue allocates dollars between both programs.

For the week ended March 28, “Good Morning America” snared an average of 4.75 million viewers, compared with an average of 4.6 million viewers for “Today” and an average of 3.68 million viewers for “CBS This Morning.” But “Today” led the other shows in adults 25-54, capturing an average of 1.75 million, compared with an average of 1.6 million for “GMA” and an average of 1.08 million for “CBS This Morning.”

“GMA” has been locked in a tough fight with its rival, which won total viewers on three days during the week of March 21 as well as last Friday, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Both programs have challenges to solve. In the first quarter of 2016 as of the week of March 21, “Today” saw total viewers fall by 3% from the year-earlier period, while “GMA” lost 10%. The daypart is extremely competitive, with Fox News Channel, MSNBC, CNN, CNBC and Fox Business Network also offering morning-news programming. “CBS This Morning” grew viewers by 11% during the first quarter, though it continues to trail both the NBC and ABC programs by a significant margin.

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