04/06/2012 01:46 pm ET

'Today' Wins Thursday Ratings War With 'Good Morning America'

The ratings war tilted back in favor of "Today" on Thursday as the the NBC morning show beat ABC rival "Good Morning America."

"Today" brought in 5.07 million total viewers, compared to 4.638 million for "GMA." While "Today" also won the coveted 25-54 demo, the audience gap between the two shows was the smallest of the entire week with "GMA" trailing by only 228,000 viewers.

When news broke that former "Today" host Katie Couric was filling in for "GMA's" Robin Roberts for an entire week, NBC countered by pulling out its own bells and whistles. Former "Today" host Meredith Vieira stopped by the set on Monday, Sarah Palin guest-hosted for an hour on Tuesday, and Ryan Seacrest announced he was joining the network's prime time coverage of the Olympics on Wednesday. "Today" pulled out its biggest weapon late Thursday night, when the network announced that host Matt Lauer had signed a multi-year contract extending his role at "Today."

Following a news report from "Today's" Savannah Guthrie on Friday, host Ann Curry shared that Lauer signed on to stay at NBC. Though he joked about growing old and losing his hair, Lauer spoke on a more serious note, calling the show and his co-hosts his "family."