For the first time in three months, NBC's "Today" show was the nation's most watched morning news program at the end of November.
The surge in viewership came after news broke on Nov. 29 that longtime "Today" show host Matt Lauer was cited to have engaged in "inappropriate sexual behavior," Variety reported.
"Today" had an average viewership of 4.9 million between Nov. 27 and Dec. 1, beating out its main competitors by hundreds of thousands of average viewers. The average viewership that same week for ABC’s "Good Morning America" was 4.36 million and 3.53 million for CBS’s "CBS This Morning."
Based on those numbers, primary "Today" rival "GMA" had 539,000–12 percent– less viewers.
The show experienced a significant spike on Wednesday, the morning the news broke, with 5.74 million viewers tuning in, compared to 4.21 million viewers on Tuesday and 4.48 million on Monday.
"Today" viewers that week saw the troubled reactions of hosts Savannah Gurthrie, Hoda Kotb, and Al Roker in realtime as they responded to the news their colleague had been fired following sexual misconduct accusations. Lauer's dismissal followed an investigation into a detailed complaint from another current NBC employee about inappropriate sexual conduct from the NBC host that began during a 2014 Sochi Olympics trip.
According to Variety, advertisement buyers indicated they do not anticipate an anchor change at "Today" to spur any major fluctuations in ratings. NBC has not yet set a timeline to find a Lauer replacement, but Kotb has been working alongside Guthrie since Lauer’s departure from the network was announced.