Was chaos behind the scenes on “TODAY” the real reason Savannah Guthrie ended her maternity leave early?
According to Page Six, the anchor made an early comeback because executives at the show were worried about sinking ratings.
“The show was in a free fall. She initially announced that she’d be returning on March 3, but they were in a panic . . . and called her back early,” a source revealed.
Just a few days after Matt Lauer and guests Lester Holt and Bryant Gumbel hosted the show, Guthrie surprised fans and her co-hosts with the announcement of her return.
“Their bro-show didn’t work. They needed Savannah to bail them out, so they rushed her from maternity leave. NBC claimed it was because of the influx of news, but the reality is that the show was down double-digits and they needed her,” the source added.
Her early return, however, didn’t do much for ratings.
This week, ABC revealed in a press release that “‘Good Morning America’ delivers [the] largest total viewer lead over ‘TODAY’ in 14 months.”
A source close to NBC pointed out that ABC’s lead could have something to do with the network’s Oscars success.
“GMA has been down double-digits in the key demo [ages 25 to 54] for months while ‘TODAY’ has been posting gains. Last week, ABC had the Oscars broadcast, which historically gives ‘GMA’ a huge boost,” the insider said of the viewer lead.