entertainment

Michael Rowland: Why ABC News Breakfast is beating the Today show


ABC News Breakfast host Michael Rowland reveals the REAL reason they are beating the Today show for second place in the breakfast TV wars

The breakfast TV ratings war has become a three-horse race for the first time in years thanks to the rising popularity of one-time underdog ABC News Breakfast.

The public broadcaster has placed second to Channel Seven’s Sunrise for 10 weeks in a row, pushing Nine’s Today show into third place.

Co-anchor Michael Rowland told TV Tonight on Friday that the program’s success was down to its focus on hard news.

Contender: The breakfast TV ratings war has become a three-horse race for the first time in years thanks to the rising popularity of one-time underdog ABC News Breakfast. Pictured: co-anchors Michael Rowland and Lisa Millar

Contender: The breakfast TV ratings war has become a three-horse race for the first time in years thanks to the rising popularity of one-time underdog ABC News Breakfast. Pictured: co-anchors Michael Rowland and Lisa Millar

News Breakfast has seen an upswing in viewers this years in part due to two major news events: the bushfires and COVID-19.

‘We’ve done pretty well in terms of the ratings against Today. We’ve had the number 2 spot for the last 10 weeks or so,’ Michael said.

‘We’ve bobbed up, bobbed down over the years, but we really started taking off towards the end of last year. And, again, speaking to the popularity of the News brand, people came flocking to us around the bushfires like last year.

Competition: News Breakfast has beaten Today in the ratings for 10 weeks, but this is partly due to the fact it airs on two channels, ABC and ABC News. Pictured: Michael and former co-host Virginia Trioli

Competition: News Breakfast has beaten Today in the ratings for 10 weeks, but this is partly due to the fact it airs on two channels, ABC and ABC News. Pictured: Michael and former co-host Virginia Trioli

‘Since the pandemic unfolded and the shutdown started, people have been switching onto us in droves… for the last three months or so.’

Michael also credited his new co-host, Lisa Millar, who replaced Virginia Trioli last year, with making a ‘huge contribution’ to News Breakfast’s success. 

News Breakfast has beaten Today in the ratings for 10 weeks, but this is partly due to the fact it airs on two channels, ABC and ABC News.

Despite slipping into third place, Today has had some success lately as all breakfast shows gain viewers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Marathon, not a sprint: Despite slipping into third place, Today has had some success lately as all breakfast shows gain viewers during the coronavirus pandemic. Pictured: Today co-hosts Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon

Marathon, not a sprint: Despite slipping into third place, Today has had some success lately as all breakfast shows gain viewers during the coronavirus pandemic. Pictured: Today co-hosts Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon

Monday’s episode of Today attracted a metro audience of 234,000 – just 29,000 behind Sunrise, which had 263,000 viewers.

That broadcast marked a significant achievement for Nine’s flagship breakfast program as it was a 50 per cent improvement on its record low in March when just 155,000 metro viewers tuned in.

Sunrise, hosted by Sam Armytage and David Koch, has been the market leader in breakfast TV for years.



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