Today, also called The Today Show, is an American news and talk morning television show that airs on NBC. It was the first of its genre on American television and in the world, and after 66 years of broadcasting it is the fifth-longest-running American television series.
Originally screening as a two-hour program on weekdays from 7.00am until 9.00am, it expanded to Sundays (originally 90 minutes, now a one-hour program) in 1987 and Saturdays (running for two hours) in 1992.
The weekday broadcast expanded to three hours in 2000, and to four hours in 2007.
Todays dominance was virtually unchallenged by the other networks until the late 1980s, when it was overtaken by ABC's Good Morning America.
Today retook the Nielsen ratings lead the week of December 11, 1995, and held onto that position for 852 consecutive weeks until the week of April 9, 2012, when Good Morning America topped it again. 2 status behind GMA from the summer of 2012 until it regained the lead in the aftermath of anchor Matt Lauer's departure in November 2017.
It has spawned several other shows of a similar type, including ABC's Good Morning America, and CBS' now-defunct The Early Show.
In other countries, the format was copied – most notably in the United Kingdom with the BBC's Breakfast Time and TV-am's Good Morning Britain, and in Canada with Canada AM on CTV.
When Today debuted, it was seen live only in the Eastern and Central time zones, broadcasting for three hours each morning but seen for only two hours in each time zone.
Since 1958, Today has been tape-delayed for the five other U. time zones (Central, Mountain, Pacific, Alaska and Hawaii–Aleutian).
Partly to accommodate host Dave Garroway's declining health, the program ceased live broadcasts in the summer of 1958, opting instead to broadcast an edition taped the previous afternoon.
The experiment, which drew criticism from many sides, ended when John Chancellor replaced Garroway in July 1961.