NEW YORK (AP) — While surely a week NBC wouldn't want to repeat, Matt Lauer's firing lured viewers to the "Today" show.
The NBC morning show beat ABC "Good Morning America" last week for the first week in three months, the Nielsen company said. "Today" had more viewers than "GMA" every day last week — the first time that has happened since last December.
NBC fired Lauer following a colleague's charge of an inappropriate relationship that began in 2014, and since then other women have come forward to charge him with impropriety. Viewers were told of his dismissal at the top of last Wednesday's show.
"Today" viewership shot up from 4.2 million on Tuesday to 5.7 million on Wednesday, Nielsen said. The show had 5.2 million viewers for Thursday's show, during which Lauer issued a statement about his behavior.
Oddly enough, the Lauer story appeared to help NBC News in the evening, too. NBC's "Nightly News" had 10.5 million viewers on Wednesday, when Lauer's firing was the lead story, and its advantage that night helped NBC beat ABC's "World News Tonight" for the week.
The Carol Burnett 50th anniversary show was a big winner for CBS on Sunday night, reaching 15.4 million viewers. Only a couple of NFL games exceeded that.
NBC won the week in prime time, averaging 9.3 million viewers. CBS had 7.7 million, Fox had 5.4 million, ABC had 4.8 million, the CW had 1.8 million, Univision had 1.6 million, ION Television had 1.3 million and Telemundo had 1.1 million.
Fox News Channel was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 2.41 million viewers. Hallmark continued its holiday surge with 2.29 million, ESPN had 2.15 million, MSNBC had 1.91 million and Freeform had 1.5 million.
NBC's "Nightly News" averaged 9.15 million viewers for the week, ABC's "World News Tonight" was second with 9.11 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 6.9 million viewers.
For the week of Nov. 27-Dec. 3, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: NFL Football: Philadelphia at Seattle, NBC, 19.69 million; NFL Football: Washington at Dallas, NBC, 15.6 million; "Carol Burnett 50th Anniversary Special," CBS, 15.36 million; "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 13.84 million; "Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick," NBC, 13.82 million; College Football: Ohio St. vs Wisconsin, Fox, 12.92 million; "Young Sheldon," CBS, 12.11 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 11.46 million; "This is Us," NBC, 10.94 million; "The Voice" (Tuesday), NBC, 10.6 million.
ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.