July 02, 2012 2:00pm PT by Michael O'Connell
Ann Curry's Last 'Today' Sees No Ratings Bump, 'GMA' Bests Savannah Guthrie Debut
With only a whisper of public notice that Thursday would be her final broadcast, former Today co-host Ann Curry's teary farewell did not give the NBC series much of an advantage in ratings.
Preliminary Nielsen data has the June 28 broadcast of Today pulling in 4.31 million viewers, topping ABC's Good Morning America by 180,000. And though it is a win for Today, that number was shy of the previous week's average (4.49 million) and the significantly stronger second-quarter numbers (5.03 million).
And unlike recent Today departures, Curry's was not preceded by much fanfare. Meredith Vieira ended her five-year run as co-host in 2011 to just north of 6 million viewers. The hyped departure of Katie Couric brought in 8.4 million viewers in 2006.
As for Curry's replacement, Savannah Guthrie's first day on the job did not immediately help her series' ongoing ratings battle with GMA. Fast affiliate ratings have the ABC show topping Today by 398,000 viewers on Friday -- preliminary numbers give 4.41 million viewers to GMA and 4.02 million to Today.
A solitary Friday broadcast says little in the grand scheme of things, but the coming weeks should prove an early indicator as to how viewers are reacting to the turnover.
Today's second-quarter average topped GMA's by fewer than 100,000 viewers (5.03 million over 4.95 million), though it still boasts a more significant lead in the key adults 25-54 demo. In the second quarter, NBC's 2.16 million demo haul topped ABC's 1.92 million.