“This is my family,” he said on the air as the “Today” crew and co-anchors burst into applause.
Although “Today” is on a historic winning streak in the ratings, “Good Morning America” has been gaining ground.
For broadcast networks, morning represents one of the most important parts of the day. The shows are hugely profitable at a time of declining TV viewership, and none has been more of a cash cow than “Today.”
The morning scene drew increased attention this week as the NBC and ABC programs featured dueling celebrity co-hosts: “Today” had Sarah Palin for a day, while Ms. Couric spent the week filling in at “GMA.”
Flagged in advance, Mr. Lauer’s announcement Friday was likely to also serve as a ratings stunt against his onetime colleague.
Mrs. Palin, the former Alaska governor, helped “Today” maintain its winning streak against “GMA” on Tuesday, but Wednesday proved a cautionary tale for NBC. With Ms. Couric on board, “Good Morning America” was able to claim a one-day victory in viewership over “Today.”
About 5.24 million viewers watched “GMA,” while 5.15 million viewers tuned into “Today,” according to the Nielsen Co.
TV show ‘Stars Earn Stripes’ will test celebrities
A new TV competition series that tests celebrities against the demands of military exercises will be produced for NBC.