After Matt Lauer firing, NBC gets ratings boost

After his sudden firing for alleged sexual misbehavior in the workplace, Matt Lauer responded in a written statement read by his former co-anchor Savannah Guthrie on ‘Today.’

USA TODAY

NEW YORK (AP) — While surely a week NBC wouldn’t want to repeat, Matt Lauer’s firing lured viewers to the Today show.

The NBC morning show beat ABC Good Morning America last week for the first week in three months, the Nielsen company said. Today had more viewers than GMA every day last week — the first time that has happened since last December.

More: Read the NBC News memo on firing Matt Lauer over ‘inappropriate sexual behavior’

NBC fired Lauer following a colleague’s charge of an inappropriate relationship that began in 2014, and since then other women have come forward to charge him with impropriety. Viewers were told of his dismissal at the top of last Wednesday’s show.

Today viewership shot up from 4.2 million on Tuesday to 5.7 million on Wednesday, Nielsen said. The show had 5.2 million viewers for Thursday’s show, during which Lauer issued a statement about his behavior.

Also: Billy Bush: Matt Lauer defended me to NBC bosses after ‘Access Hollywood’ tape leaked

Oddly enough, the Lauer story appeared to help NBC News in the evening, too. NBC’s Nightly News had 10.5 million viewers on Wednesday, when Lauer’s firing was the lead story, and its advantage that night helped NBC beat ABC’s World News Tonight for the week.

The Carol Burnett 50th anniversary show was a big winner for CBS on Sunday night, reaching 15.4 million viewers. Only a couple of NFL games exceeded that.

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