With new spending cuts, NBC regroups

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Another key NBC franchise, “Today,” is finding itself on shaky ratings ground after 15 years at the top. Since the beginning of July, “Today” has lost each week in the ratings to “Good Morning America,” with the exception of the two weeks NBC was in London for the Olympics.

A continued downward slide could make NBC question the deal it gave Mr. Lauer earlier this year for a reported increase from $17 million to $25 million annually.

Mr. Baldwin’s offer to take a 20 percent reduction in his reported $15 million “30 Rock” salary, however, looks to be grounded more in the grand gesture than reality.

Never a ratings success, the Tina Fey comedy did bring NBC the prestige of Emmy Awards and enough viewers to warrant continued production to reach the threshold for lucrative syndication. NBC has declared this abbreviated seventh season to be the show’s last.

The ratings explain the decision. Last week’s debut was the lowest-ever for “30 Rock” with 3.5 million viewers, a number dwarfed by the more than 15 million watching the top-rated sitcom, “The Big Bang Theory” on CBS.

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