'Today' gets a rare ratings win; Laurie Metcalf joins CBS pilot 'The McCarthys'

today-ratings-dec-16.jpgNews and notes from around the dial:

- NBC's "Today" show scored a rare ratings win over ABC's "Good Morning America" earlier this month. "Today," which dominated the morning-show race for years before "GMA" took the lead in 2011, narrowly beat its rival in the key news demographic of adults 25-54 in the week of Dec. 16 -- NBC's first demo win since July. "GMA" remained on top in total viewers, although by a smaller margin than usual.

- Laurie Metcalf is looking to make a return to network TV. The "Roseanne" vet is set to star in the CBS comedy pilot "The McCarthys." The show, which is being retooled as a multi-cam after shooting as a single-cam last pilot season, revolves around a big Irish Catholic, sports-crazed Boston clan and the gay son whose greatest sin is not his sexuality but his desire to spend less time with his family. Metcalf will star as loving mother Marjorie McCarthy. The role is formally in second position to Metcalf's HBO series "Getting On," which wrapped its first season on Sunday (Dec. 29) and is considered a long shot for renewal. [ Deadline]

- OWN has landed the rights to the Nelson Mandela biopic "Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom" from The Weinstein Company, the network announced in a press release. This means OWN has the rights to the film's first broadcast window starting in 2017. "Mandela" stars Idris Elba as the title character, and came out in limited release on Nov. 29.

- VH1 and "Big Morning Buzz" host Carrie Keagan are parting ways, more or less. Keagan, who has hosted the morning show since it launched in 2011, taped her last episode on Dec. 20. The show is scheduled to return in March, but a decision on a new host hasn't been made yet. It's not a complete break for Keagan and VH1 either -- she has a pilot in development there. [ Deadline]

- Bear McCreary -- the man behind the music on "Battlestar Galactica," "The Walking Dead" and "Marvel's Agents of SHIELD" -- has a new TV project on his plate. The composer created the theme for Starz's new pirate drama "Black Sails," and the opening credits sequence has premiered online. The theme is like all the best parts of McCreary's work on "BSG," and is definitely worth getting excited over.[ EW]

Photo/Video credit: NBC