Is ‘Today’ considering adding a fifth hour?

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Variety has reported that NBC News “has considered” adding a fifth hour of “Today” — but it’s important to note there’s no firm plans from the network in the reporting.

  • Variety sources told the publication that the network has been considering adding a fifth hour of the franchise.
  • When quizzed by Variety, NBC News president Noah Oppenheim said he doesn’t have any firm plans, but did appear to rule out anything before 7 a.m. eastern, which would cut into local news in most markets — and likely face opposition from affiliates.
  • He went on to tell Variety “There are no imminent plans for it,” and emphasized “I don’t want to overstate the likelihood of it happening.”
  • It’s not uncommon for networks to discuss long range possible scheduling plans or even begin researching if such a change might work — but many of these plans never make it beyond that.
  • That said, NBC came close to having an open hour during daytime after the future of soap “Days of Our Lives” was underdetermined briefly.
  • NBC eventually renewed the show for another season, solidifying its place on schedules for at least a year.

NBC already has the longest morning network news block in the U.S. broadcast networks.

  • For many years, “Today” ran from 7 to 9 a.m. in most time zones (using tape delay for anything west of eastern time).
  • It grew to three hours in 2000 and then to four in 2007.
  • The third hour was previously known as “Today’s Take” and featured mostly separate host and took on a distinct format that included its own open.
  • That show was effectively canceled after “Megyn Kelly Today” took over from September 2017 until its ultimate cancellation in October 2018.
  • After that, a rotating cast took over the hour using much of the same elements from “Today’s Take” and the show eventually become know as “Today 3rd Hour” on most listings, but is often referred to as the “Third Hour of Today.”

ABC has experimented with expanding its “Good Morning America” franchise.

  • In 2012, the network ran an afternoon extension called “Good Afternoon America” that features select members of the main talent. The show aired at 2 p.m. eastern.
  • In 2018, the network filled the 1 p.m. timeslot with “GMA Day” — which was eventually renamed “Strahan & Sara” and then “GMA3: Strahan, Sara and Keke” after Keke Palmer joined as a permanent co-host along Michael Strahan and Sara Haines.
  • In addition, “GMA” produces several digital only mini shows.