Sarah Palin was the much-hyped guest co-host with Matt Lauer on NBC's “Today,” going head-to-head against former “Today” anchor, Katie Couric, on “Good Morning America.” “Today” ultimately finished ahead in the ratings. (Peter Kramer/AP Photo/NBC)

The numbers are finally in: Matt Lauer and gang beat Katie Couric by 187,000 viewers last week, according to final ratings from Nielsen.

The Couric-hosted “Good Morning America” attracted an average of just fewer than 5 million viewers — the show’s biggest audience in four weeks. But the size of “Today’s” crowd went up more: Only 119,000 viewers separated the NBC show and ABC’s trailing “GMA” the previous week.

On the other hand, even the 187,000-viewer gap is a whole lot better for “GMA” than a year ago, when nearly 600,000 viewers separated the two shows.

As previously reported, Katie beat Matt on Wednesday. Truth be told, that had a whole lot more to do with that being the day “GMA” always interviews the person tossed from ABC’s hit competition series, “Dancing With the Stars,” than with Katie. But a win’s a win.

Katie also finished within what some might call the “Nielsen margin of error” on Friday, when only 15,000 people separated the two shows.

That’s the morning Matt announced he’d signed his new, multi-year, $30-mil-a-year-ish, four-day-workweek contract to remain “Today’s” anchor-in-chief. Actually, he himself didn’t divulge those details — he just said he’s sticking around.

Meanwhile, over at “GMA,” they had an interview with the parents of Lauren Scruggs, the model-turned-fashion blogger who lost a hand and an eye when she accidentally walked into the still-moving propeller of a plane.

Oprah on CBS

Oprah Winfrey’s appearance last week on “CBS This Morning” sent only 2.6 million people running to that infotainment show. It finished behind “GMA” and “Today” that Monday, with about half the crowd that was watching each of the other two shows.

The CBS show actually scored more viewers the next day.

Oprah’s Monday appearance on “CBS This Morning” kicked off a week in which she also appeared in front of a hall packed with advertisers to talk to them about her struggling cable network OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network.

Oprah told Gayle King and Charlie Rose on Monday, “Had I known that [launching OWN] was this difficult, I might have done something else.”

Three days later, talking to advertisers about the network, she said, “I’m climbing Kilimanjaro.”

“You know that song, ‘The Time of My Life’? I’ve had the climb of my life,” she joked.

Days earlier, OWN announced about 30 layoffs and a management shake-up with Silver Spring-based Discovery Communications, which reportedly has sunk about $300 million into the network.

“With our restructuring and right-sizing and getting into the sauce of what needs to happen every day, I feel like I can at least now see the summit,” Winfrey told advertisers.

Fetching to CBS: ‘Dogs’

ABC has “Dancing With the Stars,” Fox has “American Idol” and “The X Factor,” NBC has “The Voice.” But a winning talent competition show continues to elude CBS. Thursday, the network announced the next best thing: a reality series with dogs!

On May 30, CBS will premiere “Dogs in the City,” starring a New York City comic who has been a dog walker, dog trainer and dog sitter for more than a decade. Each Wednesday at 8, Justin Silver will resolve issues between canines and their owners (yes, sounds a lot like NatGeo’s “Dog Whisperer”).

Here’s where “Dogs in the City” exec producer Carol Mendelsohn — the same Carol Mendelsohn who is behind CBS’s “CSI” franchise — delivers the standard dog-series disclaimer: “Dogs are often a lightning rod for their owners’ emotions and dysfunction at home.”


‘Apt. 23’s’ solid number

Seven million people — or about two-thirds of “Modern Family’s” audience — stuck around Wednesday for the unveiling of ABC’s much-discussed (naughty title name, James Van Der Beek playing a not-nice version of himself, etc.) comedy series “Don’t Trust the
B---- in Apt. 23
.” These days, that passes for a good launch. Anyway, ABC notes that it was the best retention of “Modern Family’s” audience in the 9:30 p.m. time slot in a year.

‘Breaking In’ 2.0 yanked

As forecast here, “Breaking In” has become That Fox Sitcom That Got Canceled Twice.

The network has yanked the break-in caper-turned-workplace comedy off its schedule for a second time. The show will not reappear for the rest of the TV season, which officially ends in late May.

Remaining episodes will presumably join the also-pulled “I Hate My Teenage Daughter” in a starring role in Fox’s Summer Burn-off Theatre.

“Breaking In” got canceled last May but was plucked from the dead pile and remade as a workplace comedy, with Megan Mullally joining the cast. When last we made note of Fox’s scheduling plans — always best made in pencil — “Breaking In” was going to get the Tuesday time slot after “New Girl,” starting next week.

According to our reckoning, this means Christian Slater has starred in four failed broadcast TV series since 2008 — the two very different iterations of “Breaking In” and NBC’s “My Own Worst Enemy” and “The Forgotten.” But we’re guessing the record books will show the number as three.

To read previous columns by Lisa de Moraes, go to