A few things we have noticed in the network morning show ratings over the last few months: ABC’s “Good Morning America” is firmly ensconced at number one, “CBS This Morning” has been reliably gaining viewers, and NBC’s “Today” has been consistently losing viewers compared to last year.
While “CBS This Morning” has positioned itself as the hard-news alternative — going so far as to use the tagline “The news is back in the morning” — it is also doing something that its competitors don’t: updating the show live for the West Coast, every day.
A TVNewser reader in Phoenix noticed that NBC’s “Today” was previewing the government jobs report last Friday… hours after the numbers were released. If viewers turned on “CBS This Morning” in Phoenix last Friday morning, they learned what those numbers were. “Good Morning America” also provided updated numbers for the west coast that day.
Local morning programs often outperform network newscasts on the West Coast. Perhaps that’s because many of those viewers realize they are getting old news from the networks. And if networks see soft viewership out West, they determine it’s not worth the hassle of wrangling anchors, producers and a crew to update every day.
To be clear, both NBC and ABC will update their morning shows when there are big, breaking stories. Evening newscasts, too. However, updating what some might deem smaller stories — like monthly unemployment numbers — could not only be a way to woo viewers who’ve switched to local or cable news, it just seems like the right thing to do. And for CBS, it just might be making a difference in the ratings.