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Peacock Crows Morning and Night

Despite the off-screen drama at NBC’s Today show and growing buzz about ABC’s success with Good Morning America, the network morning-show ratings so far this season are relatively calm.

Season-to-date, NBC is still cock of the walk from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. in households, adults 18-49 and adults 25-54. And it caps the night in the top spot as well, with Leno continuing to dominate.

Compared to the same period a year ago, Today is off just a tenth of a rating point to a 4.4 rating/16 share in households and a 2.2/15 in 25 to 54s, according to a new study of Nielsen data by ad firm Magna Global USA. Today dropped 2% in households and was off 4% in adults 25 to 54.

Among the coveted 18-49 viewers, NBC also dropped a tenth of a rating point to a 1.8/14, a 5% decline.

But ABC is the one with momentum. GMA’s household marks climbed 7%, as did its 18-49 ratings. Among 25-54s, GMA is up 5%. In households, ABC grew three-tenths of a rating point to a 4.2/15 and is up one-tenth in adults 18-49 (1.5/12) and 25-54 (2.0/14).

Third-placed CBS was flat in households (2.4/8), and lost one-tenth in 18-49s (0.9/7) and 25-54s (1.1/8).

ABC has overtaken NBC in one demographic group, although not one of advertisers’ most sought-after demos.

In adults 50-plus, ABC posted a 3.7/20, up two-tenths of a rating point. NBC slipped three-tenths to a 3.5/19.  Today’s median age, 51.4 years old, is slightly younger than GMA’s at 53.8 years old.

At the end of the day, NBC is the winner in late night, although its shows--Leno and Conan--are down slightly.

From 11:30 p.m to 2 a.m., NBC is averaging a 2.7/9 in households, off one-tenth of a rating point. CBS is second with a 2.5/8 in households, up one-tenth from a year ago, and ABC is off one-tenth to a 2.2/7. All three are off 4% in household ratings.

Late night is prime time to reach young male viewers and NBC gets the most with a 1.1/6 in men 18-34. ABC is second with a 1.0/5 and CBS third with a 0.9/5.  NBC’s late night delivery of young men, however, dropped 8% compared to last season, while ABC and CBS were flat.

All three networks are about even with last season.

NBC’s Tonight continues its late night dominance over CBS’ Late Show, although Letterman is making gains. ABC’s Nightline, which loses its anchor Ted Koppel in December and will likely be reformatted, is third. 

In the past five years, Magna reports, the audience for all three shows is growing older.

Letterman attracts the youngest crowd, with a median age of 49.4 years, but that’s up from 47.2 in the 2000/01 season. Tonight is attracting a median age of 49.8 years old this season, up from 47.4 years old five years ago. Nightline’s median age is 51.8 years old, up from 49.6 in 2000/01.