Manti Te'o's appearance on Disney-ABC's Katie on
Thursday, Jan. 24, drove the show to its highest ratings since its September
The Notre Dame linebacker was the alleged victim of an
Internet hoax in which he believed he had an online relationship with a woman
who died of leukemia last September. The story has been at the center of the
sports news stage for much of January, after the Gawker-owned sports news blog,
Deadspin, unraveled the complex tale to discover that Te'o's so-called
girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, was actually a 25-year-old man, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo,
unbeknownst to Te'o.
In his exclusive interview with Katie Couric, Te'o admitted
to continuing to lie about the situation in December even after he learned
about the hoax. He also admitted that he had lied to his father about how he
had met his online girlfriend, who actually was a front created by a man.
Couric went so far to ask Te'o if he was gay, about which many people have
speculated, but Te'o vigorously denied that.
In the metered markets, Katie climbed 30% from what
the show had been averaging over the previous four weeks to a 2.6 rating/7
share for its primary runs. Katie also notched time-slot wins in the
top-three markets -- New York, Los Angeles and Chicago -- with the interview,
with the show's best performance coming in Sacramento, where the show scored a
4.7/13 on KCRA at 3 p.m., winning its time period.
The show also scored time-period wins in Norfolk, Va., with
a 4.7/10 on WVEC at 3 p.m., and in Notre Dame's home market of Indianapolis,
where it scored a 4.5/10 on WRTV at 3 p.m. Katie drew an estimated 3.5
million viewers, according to early projections by Nielsen Media Research.
Prior to this, Katie's highest audience was three million viewers, a
mark set on Jan. 10 for a show entitled "Medical Mysteries."
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Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. 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.