For the week of May 18-22, NBC's "Today" was No. 1 among viewers ages 25 to 54, the demographic advertisers want to reach with news programming. It's the second straight week that "Today" has topped
"GMA" still leads NBC's "Today" in overall viewers. The ABC program averaged 5.1 million viewers for the week, compared with 4.7 million for "Today" and 3.5 million for "
While "Today" has been closing the ratings gap in the 25-to-54 demographic, the show has not had back-to-back weekly wins in the category since January 2013, excluding the weeks NBC was in Olympics coverage.
Some insiders at the network noted the latest win may be slightly influenced by the revelations that "GMA" co-anchor George Stephanopoulos made donations of $75,000 to the
After the story broke on May 14, a number of media critics and Republican leaders raised concerns as to whether Stephanopoulos, a former top aide in the Clinton White House, could effectively cover the 2016 presidential campaign. Stephanopoulos, who is also chief anchor for ABC News, said he would not moderate a Republican primary debate that the network is scheduled to carry next February because his contributions to the Clinton Foundation could pose a distraction.
The story appears to be having no impact on Stephanopoulos' ability to cover the race. He had the first interview with
While Stephanopoulos' misstep is the first negative publicity of any kind for "GMA" since it took hold of first place in the morning ratings race in September 2012, an ABC News executive not authorized to speak publicly about the matter said, "there are no conclusive numbers related at all to George." This executive noted that "GMA" was first in the ratings in the three days after Stephanopoulos apologized on the air.
NBC may also be seeing a payoff from personnel stability in the morning, when viewing is more habitual than any other time of day.
Despite a myriad of rumors about changes to the program over the last two years, the core on-air team of Matt Lauer,