The Fairly Forgettable Fire

Good Morning America made a big deal of landing U2 for a live show at Fordham University on Friday, but the broadcast actually lost ground in GMA's battle against NBC's Today Show.

U2's two highly hyped, exclusive engagements on Good Morning America and David Letterman last week were ratings bombs.: Today increased its lead to nearly 1.4 million viewers on Friday, up from 1 million viewers the week before. (In the 25-to-54-year-old demographic that the morning shows use to sell ads, GMA fared better, cutting the gap almost in half).

A tipster says ABC had to bend over backwards to book the "international mega band," accomodating the band's "nutty" demand that the show take place at Fordham and spending a huge amount of money to set it up. ABC News spokesman Jeffrey Schneider says U2 quite reasonably asked to play at a university, and that everyone involved was "thrilled" at the idea of using Fordham. "It was the cost of a normal concert," he says.

If the morning shows were a bust, late-night wasn't much better. The band's much-hyped week-long engagement on Late Night With David Letterman didn't move the needle at all: In the top 56 markets (national numbers aren't in yet), Letterman averaged 8 percent of the late-night viewing audience last week against Leno's 10 percent, which is exactly where the two shows were the week before sans Bono, Edge, Larry, and the guy who plays bass.

On the other hand, No Line on the Horizon did enter the Billboard charts at No. 1 this week with just under half a million copies. Though that's down 40 percent from 2004's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb's debut.