For the first time in 16 years, it appears ABC's Good Morning America may have finally beaten NBC's The Today Show in weekly ratings, but it wasn't the during the Katie Couric-Sarah Palin death-match. The New York Times's Brian Stelter credits the inimitable Sherri Shepherd, a member of The View's day-time debating panel. He writes:
Today won the first two days of the week, but GMA came back to win on Wednesday, the morning after an ABC star, Sherri Shepherd, was voted off the prime-time ABC show Dancing With the Stars. Ms. Shepherd was interviewed on GMA on Wednesday morning.
The Nielsen ratings are preliminary and the margin is extraordinarily slim, so Today may retain the lead once the final numbers are tallied. GMA averaged 5,147,000 total viewers last week, which is 13,000 more than the Today's average of 5,134,000. If this were an election, we'd be talking about a candidate winning by a margin of 0.13 percent. And truth be told, however, it's hard to credit one single seismic morning TV event for finally pushing GMA over the top. As Stelter reports, the ABC show has been slowly gaining on its peer for a long time so this is within a trend. Anyway, congrats to the ABC team.
Update 1:38 p.m.: Jim Bell, Today executive producer, cleverly spins Monday's sorry news as cause for reflection on how awesome his show is. His statement to the Times, in fact, lays it on a little thick: " Today's 852-week winning streak had taken on a life of its own and as odd as it is to see it end, we should acknowledge just how remarkable it has been. So as we tip our caps to the team at Good Morning America, we can also take a bow ourselves and recognize the work done by countless staffers for so long. It is not an overstatement to call it one of the most incredible achievements in television history, one that is not likely to ever happen again..." A bigger achievement, even, than Girls? Stop right there, Sir!