The "Today" show won ratings gold last week in its morning show competition against ABC's "Good Morning America," NBC's first weekly win since the London Olympics in the summer of 2012.
"Today" averaged 6.22 million viewers for the first full week of competition in Sochi, with "Good Morning America" at 6.01 million, accordinmg to the Nielsen company.
NBC has a lot riding on the competition. With the network owning the Olympic broadcasting rights, "Today" transported its team led by Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie to Sochi and brought in a parade of Olympic athletes for interviews each morning. With all the attention on Sochi, a loss last week would have been seen as a major disappointment for the network.
As opposed to the 210,000 viewer gap between the two shows last week, NBC won by 1.88 million viewers during the first week of the Vancouver Olympics in 2010 and by 1.61 million viewers during the first week of the London games. ABC actually managed to win one day last week, on Tuesday, Nielsen said.
With the time difference, the "Today" show has been doing its broadcast in the late afternoon Sochi time. A run of good weather allowed its team to broadcast from an outdoor studio in sweaters while much of its audience in the United States was shivering.
It was the biggest weekly audience for "Today" since the British Royal Wedding in April 2011, Nielsen said.