NBC’s “Today” show is doing just fine without Matt Lauer so far.
The long-running morning show averaged 4.6 million viewers last week, defeating ABC’s “Good Morning America” in the ratings for the third week in a row since Lauer was fired for sexual misconduct, according to the New York Times.
The development is noteworthy because “Good Morning America” has led all morning shows in ratings for the past five years. Before this month, the last time “Today” beat “Good Morning America” in the ratings for three consecutive weeks was during and after the 2016 Summer Olympics, which were televised by NBC.
Some television executives and producers had assumed Lauer’s absence would hurt the show’s ratings, as he was seen as the star of the show.
But the ratings bump in the immediate aftermath of Lauer’s shocking dismissal has not receded, even as Hoda Kotb has sat next to Savannah Guthrie in Lauer’s former chair.
Meanwhile, “CBS This Morning” has seen no impact from the firing of co-anchor Charlie Rose for sexual misconduct. Last week, the show averaged 3.7 million viewers, the same number who watched Rose’s final week, according to the Times.
“Face the Nation” host John Dickerson sat in Rose’s chair last week, alongside Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell.
The news may provide evidence Lauer and Rose were not as important to viewers as to the network executives who gave them generous contracts, the Times noted.
Megyn Kelly, who hosts the 9 a.m. hour of “Today,” has also seen a ratings boost since Lauer left. Her “Megyn Kelly Today,” which has focused on victims of sexual harassment in recent weeks, averaged 2.7 million viewers last week, its second-best week since it debuted in late September.
However, the morning shows and evening newscasts on the major broadcast networks have all seen their ratings drop over the past year, the Times reported.
Compared with the same week last year, “Today” has lost 8 percent of its viewership, “Good Morning America” has lost 5 percent and “CBS This Morning” has lost 2 percent.