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`Iyanla’ debut OK, not great

Aug 20, 2001  •  Post A Comment

“Iyanla” may not have torched the talk show landscape with its debut last week, but compared with the debuts of other talk shows in recent years, the new series isn’t exactly scraping the barrel, either.
Not since “Rosie” debuted five years ago has a talk show clicked with the viewers. Several, including the now-canceled “Queen Latifah,” have returned for a sophomore year, but none have gone on for a third term.
In four days on the air, Buena Vista Television’s “Iyanla” averaged a 1.5 rating and a 5 share, according to weighted metered-market averages, down 12 percent in its time periods from both prior month and year-ago averages. Although the rating drop is not exactly a good sign, it holds better than all but one talk show to debut since 1999, with “Latifah” being the only talk strip to avoid losing viewers upon its launch.
Last year, only “Dr. Laura,” with stronger time periods, beat “Iyanla’s” launch with a 1.9 rating and 6 share.
In the 45 metered markets, “Iyanla” has 27 daytime clearances, nine early fringe and nine late fringe. The series is down 25 percent from its lead-in average of 2.0/7. In the country’s top two markets, the story is clearly a tale of two cities.
On WABC-TV, New York, “Iyanla” airs at 12:30 a.m. in a time slot formerly occupied by “Oprah” repeats and is averaging a 2.0 rating/7 share for a second-place finish, up from its year-ago time period by 11 percent. Although the strip is down 12 percent from its lead-in, the result is expected because homes using television levels sharply decline as the night wears on. On KNBC-TV in Los Angeles, however, the series airs at 10 a.m. and finished in last place with a 1.0 rating and 3 share. The series was off 33 percent from its powerful “Today” show lead-in and down 38 percent from the year-ago time period.
Nationally, the series fared best in Baltimore and worst in Orlando, Fla.; Providence, R.I., and Dallas.