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Trouble at NBC News: Major Programs Losing Ground to Rivals

Jun 22, 2012  •  Post A Comment

NBC News’ major franchises are losing ground to rivals, with the network’s news division appearing "adrift" for the first time in more than a decade, report Bill Carter and Brian Stelter in The New York Times.

The most visible problem is "Today," with the morning show planning to replace Ann Curry after seeing a 16-year winning streak come to an end earlier this year, the piece notes. But other major news shows, including "NBC Nightly News" and "Meet the Press," have also slipped, with the former down 11% in the key news demo of viewers 25 to 54.

The lead enjoyed by "Meet the Press" has shrunk to 2% in total viewers over its second-place rival, CBS’s "Face the Nation," while the CBS program now draws more viewers in the 25-54 age group, the piece notes.

"Rock Center," hosted by the network’s chief anchor, Brian Williams, hasn’t drawn strong prime-time ratings, but NBC News is committed to the program, according to the report.

"The weaknesses across the news division probably would be considered marginal if they did not come at the same time as the apparent shift taking place in the morning. That change is under particular scrutiny because of the ‘Today’ show’s status as the most profitable franchise in the history of television news," Carter and Stelter write.

Steve Capus, the president of NBC News, argued that the shows are performing well given the weak performance of NBC’s prime-time schedule. "This is a great news division, and still the industry leader," he said.

Capus added that the network is still receiving a premium for "Today," despite the ratings loss, although he didn’t quantify it, according to the story.

Despite speculation about the future of his job, Capus received an endorsement this week from the network, in the form of a new long-term deal to continue as NBC News’ top executive, the story says. Capus declined to comment on the deal.

2 Comments

  1. Rock Center should be at 8 pm Sun or even 7 pm when 60 Minutes is in repeats. Today show slippage isn’t so much a Today issue as it is GMA being more fun to watch – chemistry is great, it’s more ad lib and embracing of everyone on the show. As to Meet the Press, David Gregory is excellent, but with Face Nation now one hour in many markets, and Schieffer doing in-depth interviews, it’s old school style is refreshingly insightful and appealing to even the coveted 25-54 news demo. People are obviously sampling and like what they see. Today show needs to loosen up.
    Even today, Dave Garroway is a good role model.

  2. Have been a long time Today watcher, however watching Anne Curry and Matt Lauer banter in the morning has gotten increasingly awkward to watch. I started surfing GMA a few months ago and have been increasingly enamored with the heart and soul of the GMA team led by the most affable and impressive Robin Roberts. The team on GMA is smart and informative and enjoyable to watch over a cup of coffee in the morning. The same, I’m afraid to say, cannot be said by watching the Today show anymore. Frankly, it’s tired and needs an overhaul. (I live in LA and would rather watch KTLA).

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