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‘GMA’ Narrows Halloween Ratings Gap

November 4, 2007 9:00 PM

The mood at "Good Morning America" was as high as a kid on a sugar rush the day after Halloween, when fast affiliate data from Nielsen Media Research showed "GMA" trailing NBC’s "Today" costume extravaganza by the narrowest margin since 1991: 39,000 viewers, according to "GMA." But according to "Today"—whose traditionally Halloween-happy ensemble dressed up as the Munsters—the gap was 97,000 viewers. Either way, it’s a significant achievement: It’s not unusual for "Today" to have a Halloween lead of 1 million or more viewers. At NBC, the argument is that the final national data, due out Thursday, tends to add to "Today’s" total viewership and that "GMA" was likely the beneficiary of its heavily promoted live interview of Cheetah Girl Sabrina Bryan and Mark Ballas, who were surprisingly evicted from "Dancing With the Stars" Tuesday night. Naturally, "GMA" senior exec producer Jim Murphy chooses to see the Halloween numbers as part of a broader trend. "We have consistently cut their lead this season," Mr. Murphy said. "Everybody is in sort of high gear right now." Mr. Murphy quietly tweaked the ABC News theme music and slipped it on air a couple of weeks ago, along with a sunnier opening graphic. The set’s a bit different, too, with an intimate seating arrangement now in the bay window overlooking Broadway and the anchor desk in a cozy spot away from the window. The point of the changes, Mr. Murphy said, was to get away from a cityscape that can be dark and dank during the winter and use different seating options elsewhere in "GMA’s" Times Square Studio. "It’s a new season," he said. "We’re just doing some brushing up."
—Michele Greppi

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