ABC News’ Good Morning America clobbered NBC’s Today in the July sweep, taking key target demos and besting Today by its largest news demo and 18-49 margins during any sweep in more than two decades. GMA grew in both demos compared with the July 2013 sweep, while NBC’s program declined, as did CBS This Morning.
The July sweep results coincide with news that NBC has agreed to let Bill Wolff, VP Primetime Programs at MSNBC and EP of The Rachel Maddow Show, out of his contract to move to ABC, in order to get ABC’s parent company to allow ESPN top programmer Jamie Horowitz take the helm at Today in September – three months earlier than expected. NBC announced in May that Horowitz would start December 1, overseeing all four hours of the weekday show and the 30 Rock concert series, as NBC News struggles to regain Today’s ratings foothold. “Jamie has the skills, the talent and the experience to lead the Today brand into the future,” NBC News President Deborah Turness said back then. “He is first and foremost a great producer … [and] he comes at things from unexpected angles and has a popular touch combined with real intellectual creativity.”
(The View, meanwhile, is putting MSNBC’s Wolff in charge, as it looks to recast itself in time for the start of the TV season. Whoopi Goldberg’s the only surviving cast member, Sherri Shepherd’s last day is Monday, and Jenny McCarthy is out too, and Barbara Walters stepped away from hosting last spring.)
GMA bested Today by 805,000 total viewers, by 215,000 news-demo viewers, and 99,000 adults 18-49 during the July sweep.
Today show, meanwhile, focused its ratings update on weekly and season to date performances. The NBC program last week posted its best total viewers and new-demo numbers in a month. Today also noted it’s the No. 1 morning news show in the younger demo, season to date, and, season to date, it has posted gains in overall audience and in both demos compared to comparable time last season.
The July derby win represents GMA’s ninth consecutive sweep win in total viewers and its seventh of the past eight in the news demo (GMA finished behind Today in the news demo for the February sweep, coinciding with NBC’s coverage of the Winter Olympics).
For the sweep, GMA clocked 4.95 million viewers to Today’s 4.14 million and CBS This Morning’s 2.78 million. In the news demo, GMA logged 1.8 million viewers to Today’s 1.56 million and CBS This Morning’s 814,000.
The July numbers are the latest lousy news for Today, which, after dominating the morning infotainment ratings for 16 years, began a fade-out in the spring of 2012, replaced by GMA in the front-runner position.