AP reports, NBC's "Today" show has eclipsed ABC's "Good Morning America" in popularity for the first month that did not include the Olympics in four and a half years.
"Today" averaged 4.79 million viewers in December to 4.69 million for "Good Morning America," the Nielsen company said. CBS' resurgent "CBS This Morning" had 3.77 million.
The last Olympics-free month NBC won was June 2012. But it was on June 28, 2012 that Ann Curry made her tearful exit as co-host, and two decades of dominance for "Today" evaporated instantly.
One reason for the show's December success can actually be found in the prime-time ratings. A network morning show traditionally gets a boost when its prime-time lineup is strong, and NBC has carried NFL games on Sunday and Thursday nights the past month. "GMA" won on Friday mornings for nine of 10 weeks before NBC began airing Thursday night games; "Today" has since won every Friday in December, Nielsen said.
"GMA" is also strong on mornings after ABC airs "Dancing With the Stars," particularly among the female viewers that dominate both shows' audiences. But the most recent "Dancing With the Stars" season ended in November.