“Today” reacted by replacing Ann Curry with Savannah Guthrie the next month, but without retaking its ratings lead.
“GMA” has snagged a bigger crowd than “Today” the past five weeks, and 10 of the past 12 — with “Today” taking the two weeks during NBC’s coverage of the Summer Olympics, when the show traveled to London.
New ‘Voice’ judges
NBC confirmed that R&B singer Usher and popster Shakira are going to fill in for judges Cee Lo Green and Christina Aguilera during the spring cycle of the network’s singing competition series “The Voice.”
The move will give Green and Aguilera a break from the show’s grueling schedule to focus on their “other” careers.
“The Voice” is one of few bright spots on NBC’s lineup, which is struggling to regain ratings. The network’s over-reliance on “The Voice” calls to mind the ABC of the late ’90s, when the struggling network hit a ratings jackpot with “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” At one point, three nights a week of “Millionaire” were also the country’s three most-watched prime-time programs. But through over-use, “Millionaire” began to collapse in 2001 and was dead as a prime-time broadcast series by the summer of ’02 (though a version lives on in daytime syndication).
NBC did not launch “The Voice” until the summer of 2011 — buying the Dutch format after losing out to Fox in a bidding war for Simon Cowell’s “The X Factor” — but “The Voice” is already on its third cycle.
The fall cycle is, arguably, the most important, as it gives NBC a rare ratings magnet off which to launch new series. Last week, for instance, the time-slot debut of its new Matthew Perry comedy, “Go On,” launched Tuesday after “The Voice,” averaging nearly 10 million viewers and finishing in the week’s top 10.
And this past Monday, the unveiling of NBC’s “Revolution” right after another “Voice” auditions episode logged a healthy 12 million viewers, making it the top-premiering drama on any network in three years, and on NBC in five years.
Meanwhile, Fox’s new drama “Mob Doctor” — airing Monday in the teeth of “The Voice” — got gnashed, scoring just 5 million viewers.
In Tuesday’s announcement, NBC insisted that Aguilera and Green will return to the show “next year,” which presumably means next fall.
For more columns by Lisa de Moraes, visit washingtonpost.com/tvcolumn.