NEW YORK (AP) — Even as "Good Morning America" solidifies its status as the most popular morning program, ABC isn't the only network where executives have been smiling lately.
The "CBS This Morning" broadcast is actually growing at a faster rate, according to the Nielsen ratings company's measurement of viewers during May. The CBS telecast, though, remains in third place behind "Good Morning America" and NBC's struggling "Today" show.
It's a remarkable time of viewer experimentation at a time of day when habits are often difficult to break. That has to be encouraging to CNN, which premieres its "New Day" morning program in two weeks.
During a newsy month, "Good Morning America" averaged 5.7 million viewers, up 10 percent from 2012. Its nearly million-viewer lead over "Today," at 4.78 million, represents a dramatic shift; in May 2012, the two telecasts were nearly tied, with "Today" holding a slight lead.
A month later, Ann Curry was bounced from "Today," and the picture changed. ABC hasn't had such a large lead during one of the four ratings sweeps months in the nearly 21 years that Nielsen has electronically measured audiences.
Meanwhile, "CBS This Morning" averaged a little more than 3 million viewers in May, up 19 percent over the 2.53 million who were watching the same month last year, Nielsen said Tuesday. The usual third-place network hasn't been this close to NBC in two decades.
The network morning show audience in May was 620,000 viewers larger than it was in May 2012. There was no help from NBC: The "Today" show lost 390,000 viewers during that period.
In prime time, ratings headed toward their annual summer slumber. NBC's "The Voice" was the most popular network show last week, even though it has been slipping compared to the past month or so.
CBS won the week with an average of 5.5 million viewers. NBC was second with 5.1 million, followed by ABC at 4.2 million, Fox at 3.4 million, Univision at 3.3 million, Telemundo at 1.7 million, ION Television at 1.3 million and the CW at 880,000.
Buoyed by the NBA playoffs, TNT was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 3.9 million viewers in prime time. The Disney Channel averaged 2.5 million viewers, USA had 2.3 million, History had 2.1 million and TBS had 1.9 million.
NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 7.7 million viewers. ABC's "World News" was second with 7.1 million, and the "CBS Evening News" had 6.1 million viewers.
For the week of May 27-June 2, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "The Voice" (Monday), NBC, 11 million; "The Voice" (Tuesday), NBC, 10.81 million; "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 9.25 million; "NCIS," CBS, 8.89 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 8.77 million; NBA Playoffs: Indiana vs. Miami (Thursday), TNT, 8.54 million; "Oklahoma: Healing Heartland," NBC, 8.4 million; "NCIS: Los Angeles," NBC, 8.28 million; NBA Playoffs: Miami vs. Indiana (Saturday), TNT, 8.23 million; NBA Playoffs: Miami vs. Indiana (Tuesday), TNT, 8.12 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 a unit of News Corp. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.