If television network executives and industry watchers pay extra-close attention to morning show anchor decisions, it's because of the revenue attached: the morning shows are network news divisions' biggest money-makers, and a dip in the demo ratings can mean a significant amount of lost ad revenue.
In that sense, Ann Curry's transition into the "Today" show anchor role has been a definite success.
Since Curry replaced Meredith Vieira in June, the show has averaged 2.235 million viewers in the advertiser-friendly Adults 25-54 demographic. That's up 7.6 percent from the same period last year and, more importantly, the show is expanding its gap over main rival, ABC's "Good Morning America." Since Curry's elevation, the show has grown the demo ratings gap over "GMA" by 7 percent. ("GMA" has managed to close the total viewer gap with "Today" to its smallest margin in four years.)
"It says a lot about the strength of the entire team at 'Today' that we have had another smooth, seamless anchor transition," the show's Executive Producer, Jim Bell, told The Huffington Post. "We all knew that Ann was the perfect choice and it is incredible that we have been able to grow our total number of viewers and increase our advantage in the demo in the middle of summer."
Curry may have seemed the likely pick for the anchor's chair given her presence as the show's news reader since 1997, but she recently told Ladies Home Journal that she certainly was not expecting the job to be handed to her. Passed over for the job when Katie Couric left "Today," Curry said she was "thrilled to pieces" with the promotion.
"After having the experience the last time where I was not asked to do this, I pretty much decided that there is no 'deserving,'" she told LHJ.
Season-to-date, the "Today" show is enjoying its widest margins over "GMA" in the advertiser demo in seven seasons. The program's rating dominance is at the heart of NBC News strategy.
"Staying number one enables everything that we do," NBC News President Steve Capus told The Huffington Post last year.
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