Morning Shows Borrow a Page From a Daredevil as Broadcast Ratings Wars Heat Up

Nov 26, 2014  •  Post A Comment

Two network morning programs are increasingly looking like a Nik Wallenda daredevil stunt as they compete for morning viewers. Variety reports that both NBC’s “Today” and ABC’s “Good Morning America” are turning to live stunts in their a.m. ratings battle.

While “Today” weatherman Al Roker recently set a Guinness World Record with a marathon weather report, his “GMA” counterpart Ginger Zee may have gone one better with a live skydive.

“On the Friday, November 7, edition of the venerable ABC morning program, Zee made a tandem jump from a plane nearly 13,000 feet over Homestead, Florida, with a member of the U.S. Army Parachute team,” Variety reports. “As ‘GMA’ co-anchor Lara Spencer brought her hands to her mouth and openly fretted — ‘Oh my gosh! Ginger, be careful!’ — Zee smiled and plummeted at 120 miles per hour, all with wireless GoPro cameras showing the action from her point of view. Once all was well, she started chatting with her co-hosts as though she were back in the studio.”

The report notes that mornings have traditionally been “one of the calmer periods of the TV day,” but it adds: “There seems to be more of an appetite for such derring-do in the mornings.”

Zee has also swum with sharks on “GMA,” while over at “Today,” newsreader Natalie Morales scaled the side of an Alaska glacier, the report points out.

“As TV personalities, Zee, Morales and Roker are expected to take part in events their viewers can only dream of: Interviews with celebrities, broadcasts that take place from remote parts of the world or during crisis events or brewing storms,” Variety reports, noting that traditionally these events have not been particularly dangerous.

“Now these new extreme-sports-like assignments add elements of risk and bodily harm to what have for decades been relatively placid programs. And they surface as TV networks are trying to do more to gather audiences around live ‘spectacles’ that seem to be one of the few things — aside from sports matches and awards shows — that can still knit a TV viewership frayed beyond repair by dozens of new ways of streaming video into the sort of mass that advertisers still covet.”

We encourage you to click on the link in the first paragraph, above, to read the Variety report in its entirety.

Meanwhile, here’s a clip of Zee’s “GMA” skydive:


  1. “GMA” counterpart Ginger Zee may have gone one better with a live skydive” — of note, Ann Curry did a live skydive on TODAY over ten years ago.

  2. I’m glad to watch the CBS Morning News where I actually get news rather than daily stunts and Access Hollywood style reporting…..

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