‘GMA’ Loses Viewers as ABC Waits for Michael Strahan to Shake Up Mornings

NBC’s “Today” show continues to close the gap

Last Updated: April 21, 2016 @ 3:50 PM

News of Michael Strahan leaving “Live with Kelly and Michael” to join ABC’s “Good Morning America” on a full-time basis is the latest twist in on-going wars between network morning shows.

“GMA” had the most total viewers among morning shows last week despite a shrinking lead that ABC execs hope Strahan can eventually help turn around.

“GMA” averaged 4.87 million viewers from April 11-15, the last week before the Strahan news broke, compared to 4.70 million for NBC’s “Today.” However, the “Today” show has now been the No. 1 morning show among the key demo of adults age 25-54 for 32 out of the last 33 weeks.

“GMA” has seen its lead over “Today” shrink by 71 percent compared to the same week last year. “GMA” had a significant lead of 575,000 viewers a year ago but that number has shrunk to 164,000. “GMA” has now lost 17 percent of viewers among the demo and lost 10 percent in total viewers this season, year over year. “Today” is also down 3-4 percent in both categories.

The ratings landscape has been strikingly similar on a weekly basis: ABC’s “GMA” typically finishes No. 1 in total viewers, NBC’s “Today” thrives in the key demo of adults age 25-54 and “CBS This Morning” trails in both categories but shows significant year-over-year growth.

“CBS This Morning” grew by 6 percent compared to the same week last year while “GMA” had its largest year-to-year decline. CBS’ morning show has now grown for 42 consecutive months while “GMA” has declined 23 consecutive months. “Today” has declined for 22 straight months.

A few weeks ago, “GMA” fell behind “Today” among total viewers and had to surrender the “most-watched morning news show” title for the first time during a non-Olympics week since 2012. “GMA” rebounded the following week to regain its total viewer crown, but “Today” has regularly won the demo for about six months.

“Today” has now won at least one particular day outright during four straight weeks and has 12 across-the-board daily victories in 2016. Among the younger demo of adults age 18-49, “Today” has dominated with 36 consecutive weekly wins and a 12 percent advantage over “GMA.”

NBC’s “Today” is expected to received an enormous boost when the network carries the Rio Summer Olympics in August, so Strahan’s September arrival to “GMA” will be something ABC can look forward to.

“CBS This Morning” recently lost star executive producer Chris Licht, who is staying at the network to serve as EP and showrunner for “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” As new EP Ryan Kadro takes over the show, it’s fair to wonder if he can keep the momentum that Licht built over a nine-year span.

“CBS This Morning” ended the first quarter of 2016 as the network’s best Q1 in the time period in 22 years. “CTM” has also shown significant growth among women age 25-54, gaining 10 percent while NBC is down 5 percent and ABC is down 14 percent in that compared to Q1 2015.

Strahan is set to join “GMA” in the fall when NBC will be finished with the Summer Games and Kadro will still only have a few months as “CTM” EP on his resume.