Katie Couric Shrinks, Steve Harvey Steady in First Week of Talk Show Competition

While the gap between the two narrows, Ricki Lake and Jeff Probst vie for third as the latter loses some ground among women.
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While veterans Ellen DeGeneres, Dr. Phil and Kelly Ripa may still be the safest ratings bets, talk show additions from Katie Couric and company made for an especially combative daytime landscape this week.

With four days' worth of metered market returns now in for the new talk shows, Couric's ABC entry, Katie, remains the victor. She topped the new pack -- including Steve Harvey, Ricki Lake and Jeff Probst -- in both household ratings and showings among women 25-54, Monday through Thursday.

THR Poll: Daytime Viewers More Likely to Watch Steve Harvey Than Katie Couric

Couric's margin of victory lost some steam, though. Katie finished the week down 37 percent, dropping from a 2.7 to a 1.7 rating. In women 25-54, sh dropped 50 percent, from a 1.6 to a 0.8 rating.

Her biggest competitor, Harvey, entered his second week in syndication with a 1.5 household rating, falling only 13 percent for a 1.3 rating on Thursday. (Harvey's Sept. 4 series debut also pulled a 1.5 rating.) Among women 25-54, he beat Couric on Thursday, retaining Monday's 0.9 rating throughout the week and actually getting a boost to a 1.0 on Thursday.

STORY: From Katie Couric to Ricki Lake: A Guide to Daytime's New (But Familiar) Faces 

Jeff Probst maintained a households edge over Ricki Lake throughout the week, though none of the subsequent days matched his premiere's 1.0 rating. Thursday saw him down just a tenth of a point for a 0.9 rating. Lake, the lowest of the pack and impacted by a carriage dispute in New York City, finished Thursday even with her premiere's 0.8 rating.

Among women, Lake may have an edge. Her show improved 25 percent, among both women 25-54 and 18-49, between Monday and Thursday. She finished the week tied with Probst's 0.5 in the 25-54-year-olds.