Matt Lauer and Gov. Sarah Palin talk politics on “Today.” (NBC NewsWire/PETER KRAMER/NBC)

Bloodied but victorious, “Today” emerged with its more than 16-year record, as the weekly ratings winner among morning infotainment shows, intact.

Only 25,000 viewers separated “Today” (4.719 million viewers) and “GMA” (4.694 million) on Friday, according to early stats issued Monday afternoon.

Couric guest hosts "Good Morning America (Fred Lee/ABC)

But, as ABC noted Monday, “GMA’s” crowd grew 2 percent compared to same week last year, while “Today’s” audience fell 5 percent.

Friday’s the day “Today” anchor-in-chief Matt Lauer made his big announcement: he’s sticking with the show a few more years. (According to various sources it will cost NBC close to $30 mil a year to hang on to Lauer — which puts him in the neighborhood of Charlie Sheen’s salary on his final season of “Two and a Half Men.”)

After “GMA” announced it had booked former “Today” sweetheart Courc to fill in for co-anchor Robin Roberts all week, “Today” came up with its own boffo bookings.

On Monday, a promised “surprise legend” turned out just to be NBC News staffer Meredith Vieira, visiting her old stomping grounds to announce she’d join them in covering the Summer Olympics in London.

Tuesday, Palin “guest hosted” one hour of the show to weigh in on Oprah Winfrey, Tori Spelling’s mini cupcakes, the GOP presidential hopefuls, Jessica Simpson’s pregnancy weight gain, and other heady matters.

Ryan Seacrest on “Today” (NBC NewsWire/Episodic)

Thursday, Octomom visited “Today” to discuss the country’s welfare program and her topless photo shoot.