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How the 3rd and 4th Hours of ‘Today’ are Doing

TodayThirdHourWhile the first two hours of NBC’s “Today” remain in second place in the mornings, the show’s third and fourth hours are seeing some of the best numbers in years.

The third hour, now called “Today’s Take” and co-hosted by Al Roker, Natalie Morales and Willie Geist, finished 2013 with its best fourth quarter in total viewers since 2006, averaging more than 3.6 million viewers.

The fourth hour, hosted by Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford, had its best-ever total viewer audience for a fourth quarter averaging 2.3 million viewers. There’s also a 2am encore, apparently popular with college students, that draws an additional 700,000 viewers (there’s likely a drinking game involved).

The third hour of “Today” has been around since 1999 when it was called “Later Today.” In 2000, it became an extension of the then-No.1 morning show. Fourth hour hosts Kotb and Gifford are approaching 6 years together.

Every autumn, many local stations replace their post-network morning newscasts — whether it be “Live with Kelly & Michael,” “The Queen Latifah Show,” “Dr. Phil” or “Judge Judy” — making the later hours of “Today” a consistent place to turn in the mid-mornings.

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