With the ratings race quickening, the two most watched network morning shows are unfurling promotional campaigns just in time for the February sweeps ratings period that begins Feb. 3.
While NBC’s top-ranked “Today” resurrects and refreshes the “America’s First Family” theme for its promotions, ABC’s hungry “Good Morning America,” which narrowed the gap to some 300,000 viewers the week of Jan. 10, according to data from Nielsen Media Research, is re-branding itself as “Good to Go.”
While NBC’s top-ranked “Today” resurrects and refreshes the “America’s First Family” theme for its promotions, ABC’s hungry “Good Morning America,” which narrowed the ratings gap to some 253,000 viewers the week of Jan. 10, according to fast affiliate data from Nielsen Media Research, is rebranding itself as “Good to Go.”
Its promotions will have a new sound, new look and new bottom line: Watch “GMA” before you leave home and you are good to go for the day.
Country music up-and-comer Julie Roberts, one of the acts featured when “GMA” traveled to Nashville last summer, recently recorded a promotional theme song that will debut this week on ABC’s Thursday morning show. Ms. Roberts’ debut album, “Julie Roberts,” zoomed up the charts and racked up rave reviews last year.
“She’s talented and real and on the rise. We’re talented and real and on the rise,” said Alan Ives, the marketing VP and creative director for ABC News.
The song “Good to Go”-“How does it feel to be in the know?/Now you’re good to go/Say good morning to America”-was written by Michael Mugrage and Edd Kalehoff, longtime collaborators whose combined credits include theme music for “Monday Night Football” and songs for such performers as Chaka Khan and Smokey Robinson.
The video featuring Ms. Roberts was shot against a light, bright backdrop and incorporates the front foursomes from both the weekday and weekend versions of “GMA.”
Mr. Ives said the video will play in theaters in New York and Los Angeles in February and on cable channels, including Lifetime and HGTV-in which ABC parent Disney holds stakes-and “some of the competition.”
Among the print buys Mr. Ives made are People magazine and the February issues of Real Simple and O: Oprah Winfrey Magazine.
“They’re still chasing us. We are still No. 1,” said Frank Radice, senior VP of The NBC Agency. He shelved the recent campaign titled “The Thing About …,” which included co-hosts’ odes to Katie Couric’s upbeat and sisterly qualities, and revived the “America’s First Family” concept, which includes a song he co-authored in which “the people out there tell us what they think about our people.” Mr. Radice also cryptically promised “a couple of big things coming up.”
A spokeswoman for “The Early Show” on CBS said the third-place morning show is not doing any new promotional push but is focused on content, such as a three-part Valentine’s Day series with Williams-Sonoma, with whom the show collaborated on “The Perfect Thanksgiving” and “The Perfect Holiday” segments in November and December, respectively.
Meanwhile, the national ratings for the week of Jan. 10 show that “Today” averaged 6 million viewers, down 6 percent from a year ago, for its 475th consecutive weekly win. “GMA” averaged 5.7 million viewers, up 12 percent from a year ago, when the gap between the two shows was 1.3 million viewers. “The Early Show” averaged 3.2 million viewers, up 6 percent year to year.