February 12, 2014 12:48pm PT by Michael O'Connell
TV Ratings: 'GMA' Gets Olympic Edge Over 'Today' for First Time Ever
After enjoying a few days on top with its Olympic coverage, Today fell back down to second place on Tuesday -- the first time NBC has lost the morning show ratings race while airing the Games.
Final fast national returns give yesterday's Good Morning America 6.42 million viewers. The ABC show, which devoted much of its morning coverage to the last-minute development of actress Shirley Temple's death, bested NBC's Today by a decisive 412,000 viewers.
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Today averaged 6.008 million viewers, on par with its Monday performance. The loss comes on a day where Today host Matt Lauer pulled double duty. With Bob Costas sidelined by a double eye infection, Lauer is also helming NBC's primetime Olympic coverage. Historically, NBC topped ABC when the latter had the 1988 Winter Olympics. CBS also did not win the morning race in the 1994 and 1998 Winter Olympics.
Though Today has no doubt been lifted by its location telecasts from Sochi, there is no denying that the talent it's featured on-air has been somewhat lackluster. The lack of "stars" on 2014's U.S. Team. had been a concern for NBC going into the games since downhill skier Lindsey Vonn officially bowed out in January.
Snowboarder Shaun White, arguably the American face of the Olympics in Vonn's absence, was dealt a blow on Tuesday when he did not medal in the half-pipe competition. News of his setback, however, did not dampen primetime ratings.
Today still had a demo edge on Tuesday. Among the desired news demo of adults 25-54, NBC bested ABC with 2.562 million viewers over 2.472 million.