'Rachael Ray' scores big in debut week


Newcomer "Rachael Ray" cooked up the best debut for a syndicated talk show since "Dr. Phil's" launch four years ago, according to Nielsen Media Research data for the week ending Sept. 24.

"Rachael Ray" averaged a 2.3 household rating, the best for a talker's debut week since "Dr. Phil" averaged a 4.4 in September 2002. Overall, the strip ranked as the No. 4 talker among all 13 shows in the genre, behind "The Oprah Winfrey Show" (which averaged a 6.5 for its 21st-season premiere, up 16% from the previous week), "Dr. Phil" (whose fifth-season premiere averaged a 4.9, up 7% from the previous week) and "Live With Regis and Kelly" (3.1).

Among other newcomers in the talk genre, "The Megan Mullally Show" averaged a 0.9 in its debut week, tying with "The Dr. Keith Ablow Show" in that show's second week on the air. A comparison with "Ablow's" debut week isn't possible at this point as those ratings are being reprocessed by Nielsen. Week 2 ratings for the other rookie talker, "The Greg Behrendt Show," also are being reprocessed.

Newsmagazine "Geraldo at Large," in its second week in national syndication, averaged a 1.6, which was flat when compared with its debut week.

Among the new court shows, "Cristina's Court" was up 8% from its debut week to a 1.4, while the ratings for "Judge Maria Lopez" also are being reprocessed.

Among the off-net rookies, "According to Jim" ranked highest among the new strips with a 1.8 in its debut week, followed by "One on One," which averaged a 0.9 in its second week, flat when compared with the previous week. The ratings for "Scrubs" in its debut week and "Still Standing's" second week are being reprocessed.

In off-net weekend broadcast syndication, rookie "CSI: Miami" jumped 7% in its second week to a 4.5, while "Without a Trace" debuted to a 2.7.

"Access Hollywood" continued its streak of showing year-over-year improvement, jumping 8% to a 2.6 over the same week a year ago, while "Inside Edition," which posted a 29-week high with a 3.6, was the only newsmagazine up week-to-week, jumping 6%, while also rising 9% over the same period a year ago.