Early Morning TV Shake-up

It’s being billed as the possible end to the longest winning streak in TV history.

We’ve all heard about the late night TV wars but less has been written about the early morning TV wars – namely the competition between The Today Show and Good Morning America.  Though each of these two shows enjoys number one status in different markets around the country, nationally the Today Show has been number one since December of 1995!!

ABC executives have been obsessed with breaking this streak for years.  The margin has been closing with GMA trailing Today by only 137,000 viewers last week – the closest it’s come in five years.

This could all change next week when Katie Couric, one of the most popular Today Show hosts of all time, sits in on GMA for a week as guest host. Couric will be filling in for the vacationing Robin Roberts.

Couric will have had an anchor role at the 3 major broadcast networks – starting on the Today Show and then switching to CBS Evening News in 2006.  After a five year stint which did not have much of an impact on the ratings, she signed off but stayed with CBS as a news correspondent for 60 Minutes.   She has now signed a contract with ABC for her own daytime talk show “Katie” scheduled to begin airing this fall.

Immediately following Couric’s departure from The Today Show, Meredith Vieira stepped in fresh from The View.  This was a seamless move and The Today Show remained on top of its game.  That has not been the case in the latest anchor change and the rumors have been flying of Ann Curry’s dismissal.  Across town, GMA has also had its shake ups – most recently Charlie Gibson and Diane Sawyer leaving and being replaced by George Stephanopoulos and Robin Roberts.

Whoever wins the ratings next week will have a nice jumping off point as we get nearer to May sweeps and all the “stunting” (quest for ratings) that will ensue.   Regardless, Katie fans can turn in to GMA next week to once again see her perky early morning routine.  And for those who are not fans of Katie, it may be a good time to tune in to The Today Show or check out the new and improved CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose and Gayle King (of Oprah fame).

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