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February 2, 2012 by · 3 Comments 

Television networks often resort to chicanery and devious manipulation to boost the ratings of some lackluster shows, the New York Times reported on Wednesday, citing as a flagrant example the decision of ABC to label Good Morning America a “special” and identify it to ratings researcher Nielsen as Good Morning Amer during the final week of the year, a week when all morning shows are notoriously low-rated. The apparent intent, the Times suggested, was to prevent ratings for that final week to affect GMA’s overall average for the year. “This is the kind of programming sleight of hand that executives seize on as they seek to gain every possible edge in the television ratings game,” the Times commented. NBC, it noted, used the opposite tactic recently when it aired a Republican primary debate in place of the normally low-rated Rock Center with Brian Williams. It simply retained the name Rock Center and in one fell swoop boosted the season’s average ratings for the newsmagazine slightly. “And,” added the Times, “especially at the bottom-rated NBC, that matters.”