'Live! With Kelly and Michael' Tops Talk Shows for First Time This Season

 Disney-ABC/David Steele

The new year brings a new ratings leader among syndicated talk shows. Live! With Kelly and Michael soared to a 2.8 rating in total households edging out Dr. Phil, which had been No. 1 among talk shows since the season began 13 weeks ago.

That means about 3.6 million people viewed Live! during the week of Dec. 16 to Dec. 23, while 3.5 million watched Dr. Phil.

According to national syndicated ratings released Friday, Live! also bested Dr. Phil in the key 25 to 54 year old female demographic. Live! had a 1.6 rating compared to a 1.4 for Dr. Phil and Ellen.

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Live!’s big pre-Christmas rush was an 8 percent improvement over the prior week, and tied the Disney-distributed show’s highest rating since early September when Michael Strahan was announced as Kelly Ripa’s new co-host, replacing Regis Philbin.

Maury was the top talk show among women 18 to 49 with a 1.6 rating and had a 2.4 rating in total households, which was up 9 percent from the prior week.

Dr. Oz fell 4 percent from the prior week to a 2.3 household rating.

Rachel Ray, which had Philbin as her guest for an entire episode during the week, saw ratings rise 14 percent to a 1.6.

Dr. Phil aired repeats during the period, and shows meant to help people cope with the Connecticut school massacre.

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Ellen was down 7 percent for the week to a 2.7 rating, but was up 29 percent from its ratings a year earlier. It topped all talk shows in total viewers with 3.67 million tuning in.

Steve Wilkos was up to a 1.5 household rating, which was a 7 percent increase over the prior week and matched his highest ratings ever.

Among first season talkers, Katie held steady with a 1.8 household rating, while Steve Harvey had a 1.4, the same as the prior week as well.

Ricki Lake was up 17 percent to a 0.7 rating while Jeff Probst held steady at 0.7 as well.

TMZ was the only entertainment magazine show to grow from the prior week, up 5 percent to 2.0. that matched its season high and was a 5 percent improvement over the prior year.

Entertainment Tonight, as usual, led the magazines with a 3.6 rating, but that was down 8 percent from the prior week. However it was up 3 percent from one year earlier. 

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