For the first time in more than three years, NBC's once-dominant "Today" show last week led in ratings for network morning programs, although by a narrow margin over ABC's "Good Morning America," according to A.C. Nielsen Co. ratings made public Thursday.
In the week ending March 22, "Today" had a rating of 5.3, which meant it was seen in an average of 4,499,700 homes. That was 169,800 more homes than were tuned to ABC's "Good Morning America, which took the lead in morning ratings in January, 1982.
Bill McAndrew, a spokesman for "Today" in New York, expressed cautious optimism about last week's Nielsen victory, and added: "It just goes to prove what we've been saying--this is a very tight race."
The perennially third-place "CBS Morning News," which has been trying to bolster its ratings with the addition of Phyllis George as co-anchor with Bill Kurtis, remained firmly in third place last week. According to ratings estimates, it was seen in 3,056,400 homes.