In the wake of the sexual harassment allegations against Matt Lauer and his sudden firing from NBC’s “Today” show, TV ratings for “Today” are…up? It’s true: the week before the scandal broke, “Today” lost to ABC’s “Good Morning America” by 110,000 viewers. The week after Lauer’s ignominious ouster, “Today” smashed its rival by over 539,000 viewers.
Of course, there’s no way to say what’s causing this, or if it will last beyond a few days. Maybe it’s true that all publicity is good publicity. Maybe it’s the “rubber-necking at a car wreck” phenomenon. Maybe people tuned in to see if NBC would reveal any more salacious allegations, or what Lauer’s colleagues would say about him, or if another shoe (or pair of pants) would drop. Maybe they thought it was the most extreme edition of “Where In The World Is Matt Lauer” ever. Or maybe some have long wanted to watch “Today” without Matt Lauer and finally got their chance.
Whatever the reason, let’s hope it doesn’t give ratings-challenged hosts any idea for ways to attract a bigger audience.