In this week's Newsweek, Howard Kurtz moralizes (mildly) in a piece titled "Journalism Suffers as Morning Shows Seek Salvation in Celebrity." Yes, suffer the little journalists!
But the viewers? Not so much. They seem more than happy to keep tuning in -- mostly to "Today," with "Good Morning America" and "CBS This Morning" (in that order) usually trailing.
In the wake of last week's "Today" vs. "GMA" buzz-battle royale, Ad Age worked with our editorial partner Trendrr, the social-media monitoring firm, to take a look at how the Big Three's morning shows stack up beyond ratings . Scroll down below the infographic for some context.
- Though Bryant Gumbel told Kurtz he was "embarrassed" that NBC gave Sarah Palin a guest co-hosting gig (for just one hour Tuesday, but still!) last week on his alma mater "Today," viewers generally seemed fine with it -- and even Palin-bashers tuned in, which was, of course, part of NBC's strategy. Palin's gig (along with other stunt-guest appearances throughout the week) was obviously a move by "Today" to counter Katie Couric's week-long guest-hosting gig over on ABC's "Good Morning America."
- "Today" alum Couric's arrival on "GMA" Monday gave the show a huge social boost that day, but it wasn't until Wednesday that "GMA" actually topped "Today" in the Nielsens (for one day only, with 5.2 million viewers vs. 5.1 million for "Today").
- The bottom portion of our chart offers an in-depth look at Tuesday of last week. "Today" retook the buzz lead (while maintaining its historic ratings lead) from Katie-powered "GMA" with a little help from Sarah Palin. Meanwhile, poor CBS, with its revamped "CBS This Morning," trails in both ratings and social-media chatter. Maybe it's time for Bristol Palin to guest-host. Or maybe Levi Johnston could do the weather?
Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.