If the ratings for King World’s new syndicated talk show “Rachael Ray” were a food, the show’s titular host might describe them as “yum-o.”
“Rachael” was the highest-rated new syndicated show since the premiere of King World’s own “Dr. Phil,” which debuted four years ago, according to Nielsen Media Research data for the show’s first week of national ratings. “Rachael” scored a 2.3 national household rating for the week ended Sept. 24, a number that includes live viewing plus same-day viewing via digital video recorders, according to Nielsen.
Aside from putting “Rachael” above all of this year’s and last year’s debuting syndicated talk shows, the program’s ratings made it the No. 4 talker for the week in households, behind only King World’s “The Oprah Winfrey Show” (6.5), “Dr. Phil” (4.9) and Buena Vista’s “Live with Regis and Kelly” (3.1).
Despite its success, “Rachael’s” performance shows how the daytime talk audience has eroded since “Dr. Phil’s” high-point debut in 2002. “Phil” premiered with a 4.4 national rating, nearly double “Rachael’s” number.
`Geraldo’ Still Strong
Among the other new first-run syndicated Mon.-Fri. shows during “Rachael’s” debut week, Twentieth Television’s “Geraldo at Large” was second to “Rachael” with a 1.6 rating, a number on par with “Geraldo’s” performance the previous week, when it debuted nationally.
Twentieth’s other new syndicated series, the courtroom strip “Cristina’s Court,” was up 8 percent in its second week in syndication to a 1.4 household rating, the third-highest Monday-through-Friday newcomer.
Besides “Rachael,” NBC Universal’s new talk strip “The Megan Mullally Show” also got its first week of national ratings-a 0.9 household number, less than half the 2.0 household rating garnered by the company’s 2005 syndicated talk entry, “Martha.”
Despite stronger clearances in many top markets on the NBC Universal-owned- and -operated stations, “Martha” tied the second-week performance of Warner Bros.’ “The Dr. Keith Ablow Show” with a 0.9 rating. “Ablow,” which is having its first week’s number reprocessed by Nielsen, scored the same rating as “Megan” despite being primarily on the usually less viewed independent stations and The CW and MyNetworkTV affiliates.
In their second weeks, both of Sony’s new entries-court show “Judge Maria Lopez” and talker “The Greg Behrendt Show”-were having their ratings reprocessed by Nielsen.
Nielsen reprocessing was also an issue for two of the debuting off-network sitcoms. Ratings for the first week of Buena Vista’s hospital comedy “Scrubs” and the second week of Twentieth’s “Still Standing” were not available.
Buena Vista’s family comedy “According to Jim” scored a 1.8 household rating in its syndication debut week, while CBS Paramount’s “One on One” garnered a 0.9, on par with its debut performance the previous week.
Among debuting off-network weekly hours, King World’s “CSI: Miami” was once again the top-rated drama in the genre in its second week, with a 4.5 rating. The debut of Warner Bros.’ “Without a Trace” in weekly syndication garnered a 2.7 rating, taking the spot for second-highest weekend drama.
For the week ended Oct. 1, weighted metered-market average ratings were available for a number of additional off-network one-hour debuts.
Both Sony’s “The Shield” and New Line’s “Mastermind” debuted with a 0.9 rating and 2 share. “Shield” was down 40 percent from its lead-in and 18 percent from its year-ago time period average, while “Mastermind” was down 10 percent from both its lead-in and year-ago average.