Today Slips, but Still Leads Morning Pack

The gap between NBC's morning leader, "Today," and ABC's resurgent "Good Morning America" expanded to 1.3 million viewers last week. Still, "Today" dipped substantially from the same week last year.

In recent weeks, "Good Morning America" has been cutting into "Today's" margin of victory; the latter show has ranked No. 1 for the past six years.

According to Nielsen numbers for the week ended Dec. 16, "Today" averaged 6.06 million total viewers, down 14% from the same week last year. "Good Morning America" averaged 4.75 million, a 4% dip from 2000. With an average of 2.74 million, CBS' "Early" enjoyed a 3% gain over last year.

In the key news demo of adults 25-54, "Today" led with a 2.6 rating, 20 share, a dramatic 21% drop from the same week last year; "Good Morning America" posted a 1.9/14, down 5%; and "Early" was flat with a 1.0/8.

Among women 25-54, "Today" dropped 17% from last year (to 3.5/22), "Good Morning America" dipped 4% (to 2.5/16) and "Early" was flat (1.2/8).

In the Sunday morning public affairs derby, NBC's "Meet the Press With Tim Russert" attracted 4.63 million viewers, 24% more than ABC's "This Week" (3.72 million) and 44% more than CBS' "Face the Nation" (3.21 million). Fox's "News Sunday" averaged 1.85 million.

-- Variety

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