'Live! With Kelly and Michael' Pulls Best Opening Week in 5 Years, Tops Syndicated Talkers

 Disney-ABC/ DAVE RUSSELL

Amid the frenzy over the launch of so many new talk shows, it's a 24-year-old veteran that has gotten one of the biggest boosts this fall season thanks to its new co-host.

According to national ratings out Tuesday, Live! With Kelly and Michael finished its first week (through Sept. 9) as the number one syndicated talk show in total households (2.8 rating) and in the key demographic group, women 25 to 54 years of age. It was the first week NFL star Michael Strahan sat beside Kelly Ripa as the permanent replacement for Regis Philbin.

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The show first went on in 1975 but hit its stride in 1988 when Philbin teamed up with co-host Kathie Lee Gifford. Gifford left and was replaced by Ripa in 2001. Philbin left in Nov. 2011 and was replaced by a parade of guest hosts until Strahan landed the full-time job.

The Live average was obviously boosted by the season opener on Sept. 4. It hit a 3.3 rating, the highest season opener since 2003. It was also the strongest opening week for the show since 2007. All in all, Live had an increase of 27 percent over the prior week and an increase of eight percent over the premiere week in 2011.

For the week ending Sept. 9, based on national numbers, the other talk shows that rated near the top were Dr. Phil (2.5), Maury (2.1) and Dr. Oz (2.1).

Rachael Ray had a strong 1.5 national rating for the week ending Sept. 9 which was a smart 15 percent increase over the same week last year.

The only other syndicated talk show to premiere in the week of Labor Day was Steve Harvey, who had a 1.2 national rating, the best opening week for a new show since Dr. Oz in 2009. Harvey averaged more than 1.5 million viewers each day for the week.

Live continued to look strong in its second week (ending Sept. 17) in metered markets where it averaged a 2.8 rating and 10 percent share of the audience. On Monday (Sept. 17) Live improved on that to a 3.0 rating and 10 percent share.

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The number one talk show for the second week was Ellen, which had a 2.9 average rating and a eight percent share of the audience.

In that second week, Dr. Phil was third among talkers with a 2.4 rating and seven share. Dr. Phil was tied in the key demo by Dr. Oz, with both recording a 1.0 rating and 6 share among females 25-54.

The demo leader in week two among talkers was Ellen, who had a 1.9 rating and 11 share among women 25-54.

Among newly launched talk shows Katie remained on top, although it’s numbers rise and fall with the quality of the guest, making it hard to say it has found its real level yet. In week two, Katie had a 2.3 rating and seven share in metered markets.

Katie had an especially strong day on Friday (Sept. 14) when the guests were Jennifer Lopez and Caspar Smart. It had a 2.2 rating and six percent share of the audience.

On Monday (Sept. 17), Katie fell to a 2.0 rating and six share in total households in metered markets, with a 1.1 rating and six share among women 25-54. That was down 13 percent from its premiere week average.

Both Live and Katie are distributed by the Walt Disney Company which has made a strong return to TV syndication this fall.

Dr. Phil continues to be consistently among the leaders. On Monday (9.17) Dr. Phil had a 3.1 rating and 8 percent share. It is up substantially from its lead in and from the same time period one year ago. Dr. Phil was especially strong in New York where he goes head-to-head with Katie at 3 p.m.. He had a 2.9 rating and eight share. Katie actually came in third in New York with a 2.1 rating and six share. The number two show in New York was People’s Court with a 2.4 rating and 7 share.

Katie, however, was tops in Los Angeles and Chicago on Monday. She had a 2.0 and six share in L.A. compared to a 1.8 and five share for Dr. Phil.

In Chicago, Katie had a 2.9 rating and eight share compared to a 2.7 rating and eight share for Dr. Phil, all based on metered market numbers.

Tricia Goddard was the only talk show to premiere on Monday. Considering it airs on a hodgepodge of independent stations in most markets, it got off to a respectable start with a 0.6 rating and two percent share in metered markets. She had a 0.4 rating and two percent share of the 25-54 year old demo. Her numbers are off just slightly from the same time periods one year ago.

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