‘Ellen’ Gets Off to a Fast Start

Sep 15, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Early ratings for three syndicated strips making national debuts show Telepictures’ “Ellen” taking a commanding lead at the start of the fall season over the launches of “Starting Over” and “Wayne Brady.”
“The Ellen DeGeneres Show” premiered last week to strong initial numbers, averaging a 2.1 rating/6 share in Nielsen’s overnight weighted metered markets during its first three days on the air, up 17 percent in rating from its year-ago time period average of 1.8/6. In addition, the talk show has grown 5 percent from its lead-in numbers of 2.0/6.
“Ellen” did especially well in New York during its first three days, rising from third place to first and climbing 68 percent from Monday to Wednesday. The series pulled a 1.9/7 on Monday, jumped to 2.7/12 on Tuesday and reached 3.2/12 by midweek in the country’s top market.
Both “Ellen” and rookie reality skein “Starting Over” debuted on the NBC O&O station group. “Starting Over,” without the benefit of star power, had a more difficult time out of the gate. The strip pulled a three-day average of 1.1/4 on its debut, down 15 percent in rating from its year-ago time period average of 1.3/4 but matching year-ago numbers in share. The series is down 27 percent from its 1.5/5 average lead-in.
“Ellen and [next year’s strip] Jane Pauley are household names, which will bring a natural curiosity from audiences,” said Barry Wallach, executive VP of NBC Enterprises, which distributes “Starting Over.” “This is a format that we always knew we’d need to give time to grow. We are increasing audiences in the third and fourth quarter-hours in the key markets, which shows audiences are tuning in rather than out. Personally, I’d be more worried if we debuted with a 2 rating and saw our quarter-hours declining.”
With eight days under its belt, Buena Vista’s “The Wayne Brady Show” began its first season in national syndication after a year of slow rollouts. For the eight days so far this season, “Brady” is averaging a 1.6/5 share, down 6 percent from its year-ago time period of 1.7/6. The strip is down 24 percent from its lead-in of 2.1/7.