NBC's 'Today' show with Savannah Guthrie replacing Ann Curry hasn't helped ratings, losing to rival ABC's Good Morning America. (Photo : Reuters)
A couple weeks since Ann Curry's departure from NBC's Today, ratings have not rebounded to positive figures with Savannah Guthrie joining the anchors desk, losing to rival ABC's Good Morning America (GMA).
Today has been the morning show champion since 1995, but ratings began to slip this spring with GMA saw its ratings slowly increasing. Many pointed blame at Curry who had just been promoted to the anchors desk with Matt Lauer after Meredith Viera left the show last year.
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Last week saw GMA, hosted by George Stephanopoulos and Robin Roberts, win the ratings war for the week, the same week as Guthrie officially began her duties next to Lauer.
According to Nielsen's preliminary ratings reports, ABC's GMA defeated NBC's by 357,000 viewers. GMA showed an average of 4.57 million viewers to Today's 4.21 million.
The decline in Today ratings may have come after some viewers displayed frustration as to how NBC possibly used Curry as a scapegoat for the ratings decrease. Rumors also mounted that Lauer, during recent contract negotiations, demanded Curry be replaced.
Curry entered in what may be considered as fierce contract negotiations as NBC tried to have her step down from the morning show. She is now the national and international correspondent and Today's "anchor-at-large." Curry first joined the Today show back in 1997.
Meanwhile, former Today show anchor Bryant Gumbel commented on Curry's dismissal from the show with Show Tracker. Gumbel believes Curry has been receiving an exaggerated amount of favorable treatment and believes the dismissal was due to ratings.
"I'm surprised and disappointed at this idea that [Curry] was a martyr, that she was thrown under the bus," said Gumbel. "I don't know why she's being portrayed as a modern-day Joan of Arc. In every job, in every walk of life, people are hired to do a job, and if they don't do it well they are relieved of that job."
Gumbel continued, "It's a big-boy business, and when things don't work out, people are asked to leave. It's happened to me; it's happened to almost everyone in this business."
The morning shows are important to networks as a source of revenue. According to Kantar Media, the Today show earned an estimated $484 million in 2011, more than GMA's $298 million, while the CBS' morning show received $156 million.