Nine’s The Today Show has beaten Seven’s Sunrise in the opening ratings month of the year for the first time in more than a decade.
Today Show: Won first month of 2016 ratings
According to data from OzTam, Today finally hit the milestone by winning three of the four first ratings weeks of the year.
The official ratings period began on Sunday February 7. In that first ratings week, Today won four of the five days against Sunrise, based on average five city metro audience.
The second week saw Today beat Sunrise on all five weekdays.
However, in the third ratings week, running from February 21, Sunrise pulled back, winning three days to Today’s two.
But last week, the fourth of the ratings year, Today finished on top again, winning four days out of five.
During February, Today’s weekday overnight metro average was 327,000 to Sunrise’s 316,000.
Sunrise studio team saw addition of Edwina Bartholomew
Sam Mac – on the road for Seven
Executives at Sunrise would argue that the show is still bedding in tweaks to the format which saw on-the-road weather presenter Edwina Bartholomew move into a studio-based entertainment role, a new studio set and the addition of weatherman Sam Mac to the lineup.
Meanwhile, Today started the year with a stable lineup after long term host Karl Stefanovic defied speculation and signed a new contract.
The moment has been a long time coming for Today, which last beat Sunrise in 2004.
Today had long dominated morning television until Seven appointed Adam Boland to run the new Sunrise in 2002. He put together David Koch and Melissa Doyle into an unexpectedly successful pairing which saw “the Sunrise family” race into a ratings lead within two years.
Today hit its low ratings point in 2005. Stefanovic replaced presenter Steve Liebmann and the show began its slow creep to close the gap on Sunrise.
Jessica Rowe was “boned” from the show a few months later and replaced by Lisa Wilkinson.
By 2011, Stefanovic had won the most popular TV personality gold Logie and Today was closing on Sunrise.
Melissa Doyle was moved off Sunrise in 2013 into a news reading role for Seven and replaced by Samantha Armytage, whose popularity with Queensland viewers helped the show shore up its ratings in Brisbane.
Pell: More than five years in hot seat
Calvert: Has taken Today to top slot
Current Today Show EP Mark Calvert has been at the helm for just over two years while Sunrise boss Michael Pell has been in charge since Boland departed in late 2010.
Last year was the closest on record for the two breakfast shows, with Sunrise just retaining its lead after a series of expensive projects including a week-long circumnavigation of the globe taking in a different country each day.
Monday will see Sunrise celebrate Koch’s 60th birthday.