It's been a harrowing few months in the world of entertainment and politics. Following the myriad allegations made against tycoon Harvey Weinstein, the floodgates soon opened. A variety of powerful men have been accused of sexual misconduct, leading to some public firings and condemnation. And while producers and actors like Kevin Spacey and Brett Ratner originally made up the accused, broadcast journalists like Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer ended up on the chopping block as well, being fired from their respective positions. Lauer's firing from The Today Show has certainly been making the rounds lately, but it turns out that the ratings have been pretty fantastic in the wake of this scandal. I guess there's no such thing as bad publicity, after all.
This news comes to us from Variety, which reports that The Today Show is currently the most watched morning news program, beating out the competition at ABC's Good Morning America. The ratings are up 12.4% from GMA, likely due to the news about Lauer's firing. In total, the week accrued 4.9 million viewers for Today, beating out 4.36 million for GMA and 3.53 million for CBS This Morning.
These ratings follow the show's broadcast on November 29, where co-host Savannah broke the news about the network's firing of Matt Lauer. Her emotional recitation of the official statement went viral, as she and Hoda Kotb grappled with their conflicted feelings live on-air. Matt Lauer hosted the popular show for a decade, contributing to NBC for closer to two decades. Between the fall out and wondering what's next for the show, it seems plenty of viewers have tuned in to see what The Today Show looks like without its formerly beloved host.
This seems to be a trend in regards to these high profile firings. Tucker Carlson's numbers climbed when he took over Bill O'Reilly's former time slot on Fox News. Then again, GMA has been suffering with the loss of Charlie Rose, so this type of coverage seems to be a double edged sword.
Matt Lauer has given his own statement on the feelings, which was a mixture of apology and refuting some of the claims made against him. He claims that not all of what has been said is true, although Lauer is taking responsibility for at least some of the allegations made against him. While one unnamed NBC employee was the first one to come out with allegations of sexual misconduct, multiple women who have come forward since. The story is still developing, with some reports claiming Lauer wants a bigger payout for his unexpected termination.
It should be interesting to see how The Today Show continues, and who they chose to replace Matt Lauer as host. Some rumors indicate that Today Show contributor Willie Geist might be a possibility, as well as Meghan Kelly, Hoda Kotb, and Carson Daly. We'll just have to wait and see how the proceed, and how the ratings respond.
The Today Show airs Weekdays on NBC. Be sure to check out our midseason premiere list to plan your next binge watch.