'Kelly Clarkson,' 'Tamron Hall' Step Out Strong on Opening Day

On day one of the busiest syndication season in years, both new big-name talkers debuted with strong opening ratings considering the fragmented state of television.

NBCUniversal’s Kelly Clarkson, which on its first day welcomed guest Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and had Steve Carell introduce the show, opened to a 1.9 rating/6 share preliminary household average among the weighted metered markets, according to Nielsen Media Research. That’s the highest debut for a nationally cleared syndicated talk show since 2012 when Katie Couric and Steve Harvey both premiered new talkers.

Clarkson, which airs at 2 p.m. leading into Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres on most NBC-owned stations in large markets, improved on its lead-ins by 36% and on its year-ago time periods by an average of 73%, according to early returns.

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Disney’s Tamron Hall, which airs in lesser-viewed morning time slots in the country’s biggest markets, scored a 1.4/5, which is the second highest-rated open for a talk show in that same time period, behind only KellyClarkson. Tamron Hall won its post-Live with Kelly and Ryan 10 a.m. time slot in New York in all demographics, and was up 44% in New York compared to CBS Television Distribution’s Rachael Ray last year, and up 71% in Los Angeles compared to Disney’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire and Right This Minute last year.

Overall, Tamron Hall improved on its year-ago time periods by 8% in households and retained 88% of its lead-in, which was Live with Kelly and Ryan in major markets.

These ratings only represent one day of viewing and are a preliminary look at national performance. Final national household ratings come out in two weeks.

Besides Kelly Clarkson and Tamron Hall, NBCU premiered its new court show, Judge Jerry, starring Jerry Springer. Next week, Sony Pictures Television will debut Mel Robbins, a talk show that’s cleared predominantly on Tribune and Nexstar stations, while Fox will premiere game show 25 Words or Less, hosted and produced by Meredith Vieira. MGM's Orion Television also is adding Personal Injury Court to its court-show lineup that includes Lauren Lake's Paternity Court and Couples Court with the Cutlers.

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Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for more than 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for The Global Entertainment Marketing Academy of Arts & Sciences (G.E.M.A.). She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997 - September 2002.