Paula Deen interview leads 'Today' to victory

Thanks to Paula Deen, 'Today' wins in the morning for first time this year

Associated Press
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In this publicity image released by NBC, celebrity chef Paula Deen appears on NBC News' "Today" show, wednesday, June 26, 2013 in New York. Deen dissolved into tears during a "Today" show interview Wednesday about her admission that she used a racial slur in the past. The celebrity chef, who had backed out of a "Today" interview last Friday, said she was not a racist and was heartbroken by the controversy that began with her own deposition in a lawsuit. Deen has been dropped by the Food Network and as a celebrity endorser by Smithfield Foods. (AP Photo/NBC, Peter Kramer)

NEW YORK (AP) -- Judging by the television ratings, one place where chef Paula Deen is welcome is on the "Today" show.

The NBC morning show beat its rivals at ABC's "Good Morning America" with a Thursday episode that featured Matt Lauer's interview with the celebrity chef. Deen is trying to keep her career cooking following admissions that she had used a racial slur.

The Nielsen company says that "Today" had just under 4.8 million viewers on Thursday, while "GMA" had 4.63 million. It was the first time "Today" had a bigger audience since November during the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

On average, the ABC show beat "Today" by 900,000 viewers a day last week.

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NBC is controlled by Comcast Corp.; ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co.

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