Today Show #1 for Ten Straight Years

The “Today” show has been the top rated morning news program every single week for the past ten years.

Amid Rumors, ‘Today’ Marks 10 Years as Weekly Ratings King (NYT)

In late 1995, when the “Today” show on NBC started beating ABC’s “Good Morning America” with regularity, the expectation was that NBC could count on a run of three years, maybe a bit more, before some factor would change the morning ratings equation again.

Surely some talent adjustment, some star coming or going, or some production advance, like NBC’s decision to return to a street-level studio in Rockefeller Plaza, would rearrange the competitive balance.

But it didn’t happen. Not after three years. Not after six. Not after eight. “Today” continued to win over “G.M.A.” not just regularly, but always – as in every single week (though the gap certainly shrank in the most recent years).

Last week, “Today” somewhat quietly marked the achievement of an improbable feat: 520 straight weeks in first place, a nice, round 10 years’ worth of winning, a streak that could reasonably be labeled DiMaggioesque.

(And since many people, including the show’s weather personality, Al Roker, openly compare the “Today” show to the New York Yankees, in terms of both status and expectations of winning, the comparison seems especially apt.)

I prefer to get morning my news online or from the radio (NPR) and don’t quite understand why anyone would get up early to sit in front of a television. Still, this is a remarkable achievement.

FILED UNDER: Media, Popular Culture, , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Mark says:

    Well, I do have NBC on in the mornings, but it is not to watch Katie Couric, but to get the local weather and traffic updates.

  2. Anderson says:

    If my wife and her friends are any indication, many people watch the show to enjoy hating Katie Couric. Female people, anyway. It’s a promising psycho-marketing study.

  3. I prefer to get my morning news from NBC NIGHTLY News, in my car.

    They’ve started putting their nightly news up as a podcast, and because I always miss the 6:30 time for the news, I’ve LOVED being able to download it and listen when I want . . . which turns out to be my commute in the mornings.