It's official: the 'Today' streak has been broken. For a week, at least, "Good Morning America" was the top morning news show on television.
Final Nielsen ratings released Thursday showed that "GMA" beat its NBC rival by 31,000 total viewers last week. That's the first time the ABC show has won a ratings week since 1995.
ABC News senior vice president and former "GMA" executive producer James Goldston announced the news on Twitter:
Of course, preliminary Nielsen figures released Monday already put "GMA" ahead, and "Today" showrunner Jim Bell had already conceded defeat. But the final tallies are sure to be the cue for ABC News to break out the champagne.
In an email to staff, ABC News president Ben Sherwood called it "a very special day for ABC News." The entire news division was set to toast the victory together on Thursday.
The "GMA" win could be short-lived — it beat "Today" during a week when co-host Matt Lauer was off the air, and when major twists on "Dancing With The Stars" may have helped draw more eyeballs — but it nevertheless represents a seismic shift in the morning show wars. 16 years is a very, very long time to never win, and while "GMA" has gotten close before, it has never been able to catch "Today." Now, that chapter has been closed.
In his Monday statement, Bell signaled the dawn of a scrappier, more equal fight between the two shows.
The "Today" streak, he said, "is not likely to ever happen again."