04/09/2012 03:36 pm ET Updated Jun 09, 2012

'Today' Wins Intense Ratings Battle Versus 'Good Morning America' With Katie Couric

"Today" emerged as the winner of its recent ratings war with "Good Morning America," after an intense week with epic appearances by Sarah Palin, Katie Couric and Ryan Seacrest.

On Monday, it was announced that "Today" drew an average of 5.11 million daily viewers over the week, compared to an average of 4.90 million daily viewers for "Good Morning America." "Today" was up 12% in total viewers from the previous week, while "GMA" was up just 1%.

Both shows experienced small declines in the key 25-54 demo. "Today" attracted 2.14 million viewers in the demo, which represented a 2% decrease. "GMA" got 1.83 million viewers in the demo, falling 5% from the previous week.

"GMA" brought Katie Couric on as a guest host to topple its rival's streak as the number one morning show every week for the past sixteen years. "Today" countered with Sarah Palin's guest-hosting stint on Tuesday, Ryan Seacrest's special appearance on Wednesday and Matt Lauer's announcement that he was signing a new deal on Friday.

While the ABC News program did not win the week, it did edge out "Today" in total viewers on Wednesday. It also continued to close the margins between the two shows, trailing by 210,000 total viewers and 306,000 in the demo. That's well under the gaps between the shows for the season to date — and those gaps are the smallest the rivals have seen since 1995.



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