Regis happy to ride `Live’ ratings wave

Jan 14, 2002  •  Post A Comment

As ratings started to levitate on Buena Vista series “Live With Regis and Kelly” just over a year ago, some skeptical industry insiders attributed the rising numbers to quick sampling of a new co-host and the prime-time game show guru. Now, as Nielsen scores continue to escalate, it has become difficult for even the most hardened observer to discount the strip’s draw.
The show is not only attracting more viewers, its audience is getting younger by the month. The show’s younger demographics skyrocketed in the November sweeps by as much as 80 percent over the previous year’s numbers. With a 3.9 household ratings average and 17 share during the November book, the strip is trending its best numbers in over four years and was the only talk show to move upward in all the genre’s major categories.
The show was also up 80 percent over last November among women 18 to 34 nationally to a 1.8 rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. In addition, the strip was up 24 percent to a 2.1 in females 18 to 49, and 14 percent to 2.4 among women 25 to 54. The figures mark the first November book with Kelly Ripa, who replaced Kathie Lee Gifford, beside longtime host Regis Philbin.
“I’ve always had good luck with my co-hosts,” said Mr. Philbin. “Fortunately, they were all easy to develop a chemistry with. I learned 40 years ago that if you and your co-host can relate to the audience, put it in a humorous perspective, they’ll tune in.”
Ms. Ripa joined the show in February 2001, bringing with her a loyal base of fans from her daytime role as Haley Vaughan Santos on ABC soap “All My Children.” That and audiences rediscovering Mr. Philbin from his hosting of ABC’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” helped increase sampling of the duo in the early part of the year.
He credits Ms. Ripa and executive producer Michael Gelman for the sharp rise in younger audiences.
“Kelly has brought a new life to the show,” Mr. Philbin said. “She’s young, fun and energetic-everything younger audiences want and can relate to. Gelman has done a good job capitalizing on that.”
According to Mr. Philbin, it is up to the show to keep those younger viewers tuned in.
“We’ve been able to keep the show spontaneous and unpredictable by offering our own eccentric look at life,” he said. “They love that fact that we are live and, quite frankly, so do I.”