Insiders at NBC have been trying to get a handle on the large scale defections since Ann Curry was fired early summer and if some of the former viewers have anything to say why they suddenly stopped watching the show most of them agree although Ann Curry may have been less than effective when it came to interviewing serious guests (she seemed to be conspiratorial and chalk and cheese offer some) it’s the way that she was ousted that finally did many viewer’s regard of the show which they once revered before they sunk into callous disregard.
While Ann Curry’s interviewing style has been said to grate viewers and perhaps Matt Lauer (who it is openly known to have demanded her ouster earlier this year before singing on with a new deal) alleviating that problem suddenly became a big problem for NBC who many felt had been mean spirited and out of sorts with their previous homey image.
huffpo: Suddenly, a problem for NBC became a BIG problem. Even people who didn’t particularly like Curry loathed the way she was dispatched. Except for two weeks during the Olympics, “Today” hasn’t sniffed first place in the ratings since. During the first six months of 2012, “Today” averaged just under 5.2 million viewers each weekday. Since July 2, the audience has dropped to 4.59 million, according to Nielsen, the company that measures TV audiences. Without the two weeks of the London Olympics, the average is 4.3 million. That’s a stunning drop, even accounting for typical lower viewership in the summer.
Other explanations offered as to why the show has faltered with viewers includes a feeling that the show has become much more tabloid centric (alas welcome to the sad decline of journalism, where content providers are forced to serve up the dribble in huge dollops to maintain advertising dollars and viewership) and leaning too much with lighter pop culture fare.
Then there’s this thoughtful reflection courtesy of William Runge, a once former viewer:
“The PR machine at NBC spent an enormous amount of time and effort convincing me that the ‘Today’ show team was actually part of my family, ‘America’s First Family,” said Runge, 46, citing the show’s advertising slogan. “Guess what? They were right. These did feel like family members. So this is how you are going to treat a member of your family?’
“You can debate for hours whether Ms. Curry was right for the role,” he said. “That’s not the point. She was doing her job and was barely 11 months into it when they canned her in the most humiliating way possible.”
And although the homey feeling was suddenly lost (cause in corporate America it now always comes down to dollars, forget loyalty wenches) the fortunes of the show were further saddled after it became widely perceived that Matt Lauer had been mean spirited with his dealings with his former co anchor (it was obvious Ann Lauer was not dealing with Matt Lauer on any level of genuine empathy as it by now all felt forced and contrived as the rumors of her imminent ouster made the media rounds) and suddenly viewers felt they could no longer stand Matt Lauer whom they felt at one stage could do no wrong and was the perennial big brother everyone adored until that is he was perceived to have become a bully.
That said the show still has its diehard fans, case in point Miriam Sajecki despite some of her present misgivings:
“What I loved about the show were the hosts, reporters and the stories,”
“It was always delivered in a friendly, engaging and informative manner. Some of that has changed in that I miss the chemistry that was displayed with the prior hosts … and some of the stories ‘Today’ was known for. It has evolved into forgettable reports without giving me the important news and educational stories.”
That said Ms Sajecki is hopeful the show’s fortunes will turn around and for now still regularly tunes in to the show. Which might be hopeful stuff as CBC is now routing hard to get its edge on the morning talk show circuit and ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ continues for now pulling ahead of its once unbeatable competitor, NBC’s ‘Today’ show. Of course it will be interesting to hear what viewers have to say come the close of the year and whether NBC can regain its past momentum or whether it will have become a victim of its own very high standards?