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'Today' tops 'Regis and Kelly' in ratings

First time since NBC launched third hour in 2000

The third hour of the "Today" show beat "Live With Regis & Kelly" in the ratings Tuesday for the first time ever.

Nationwide, "Today” averaged 3.348 million viewers to "Live's" 3.248 million viewers for the 2009-10 season, Nielsen numbers show.

The third hour of "Today," launched in 2000, is anchored by Al Roker, Ann Curry and Natalie Morales. Marc Victor serves as the senior producer.

"With an unprecedented four-hour live broadcast every day, we're very fortunate to have the best team in television. The first two hours of 'Today,' led by Matt and Meredith, continue to excel, Kathie Lee and Hoda are breaking new ground at 10 a.m. and now this great achievement for the 9 a.m. hour and Ann, Natalie and Al," executive producer Jim Bell tells The Hollywood Reporter.

"Live With Regis & Kelly" and the third hour of "Today" compete in many major markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia and San Francisco.

As the New York Post points out, the shows tied in household ratings of 2.5 in women aged 18-49 and persons 18-49 and 25-54. "Today" was slightly higher in men 18-49, women 25-54 and men 25-54.

However, in markets where the two shows went head-to-head, "Live" had an advantage. In New York, it had 52% more total viewers than "Today," while in the Los Angeles market, "Live" had a steep 73% advantage.