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Since Regis Philbin left Disney’s syndicated hit talk show Live last November, his co-host Kelly Ripa has been rolling along with ratings up an average of 4 percent compared to a year earlier when they were still together – until last week.
STORY: Bob Iger Says He’s in ‘No Rush’ to Replace Regis Philbin on ‘Live!’
For the week ending Jan. 22, ratings for Live With Kelly dropped 10 percent from the comparable week a year earlier. The show had a 2.7 household rating (3.66 million viewers per day) compared to a 3.0 rating ((3.95 million viewers) the same week a year earlier.
So what happened? Was it a weak line-up of co-host for the week, which included Seth Meyers, Mario Lopez and Dana Carvey?
No, say sources at Disney. The same week one year ago, right after the Martin Luther King holiday, was when Regis suddenly announced (on Jan. 18, 2011) that he was leaving the show. That exploded across the media landscape and the show’s ratings for the week jumped.
STORY: Regis Philbin’s Final ‘Live!’ Broadcast Pulls 9.45 Million Viewers
For the 2011-2012 season to date, both with and without Regis, ratings for the show are up a healthy eight percent compared to the same period in the prior year.
Still, as the search for Regis’s replacement goes on and on, there is reason to wonder how long Kelly can carry the show herself.
For now Disney is committed to taking its time and making sure they find the right replacement host, who can attract viewers and enjoy great personal chemistry with Kelly on a daily basis.
As Regis would probably say, it turns out Regis isn’t so easy to replace.
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