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Rachael Ray's Record Ratings

King World’s Rachael Ray opened Monday with the highest numbers of any first-run syndicated show since Dr. Phil debuted in 2002.

Her 2.8 rating/9 share in 55 metered markets was up 17% over its lead-in of 2.4/8 and 33% above the year-ago time period average of 2.1/7.

The new talk show was the time period victor in 28 of 55 markets. It generally had poor lead-ins in the remaining markets.

In New York, Ray finished first at 10 a.m. on WABC at a 3.9/16, with ratings more than double any other show airing in the time slot.

It earned a third-place 1.3/6 at 9 a.m. on KCBS Los Angeles behind KABC’s Live withRegis & Kelly and KTTV’s Good Morning, L.A. Despite a 0.4/2 lead-in from the Early Show on CBS, it still beat the third hour of the Today show on KNBC and more than doubled last year’s time period average.

Ray’s best performance came in Philadelphia, with a first-place 5.2/20 at 10 a.m. on WPVI.

Meanwhile, NBC Universal’s Megan Mullally, with strong time periods on NBC O&Os in top markets, earned a 1.2/4 in 45 metered markets, down 8% from its lead-in of 1.3/4, and off 14% from its year-ago time period average of 1.4/5.

In New York, Mullally earned a third-place 1.5/5 at 3 p.m. on WNBC, behind Dr. Phil and General Hospital. It was up 150% from the 0.6/2 lead-in delivered by Passions and down 25% from Judge Joe Brown (2.0/6) in the time period a year ago.

As the 4 p.m. news lead-in on KNBC Los Angeles, it earned a ninth-place 0.4/1, down 33% from its Ellen lead-in and 79% from the 1.9/5 Ellen earned in the slot last September.

Its best top-10 performance came in Boston, with a fourth place 1.7/7 at 11 a.m. on WHDH.

Telepictures’ Keith Ablow finished its first week with a 1.0/3, down 17% from its lead-in and time period averages of 1.2/4. On Monday, it earned a 0.8/3, falling 38% from its 1.3/4 lead-in and time period marks, and off slightly from its Sept. 11 debut of 0.9/3.

Sony’s Greg Behrendt, over its first four days last week, averaged a 0.7/2, down 42% from its lead in and time period averages of 1.2/4.

Among the returning talk shows, King World’s Oprah launched her 21st season Monday with a 7.6/19, up 90% from a 4.0/11 lead-in and 19% from a 6.4/15 year-ago time period average.

The syndicator’s Dr. Phil earned its highest season debut ratings since 2003, with a 4.9/12, up 96% from its 2.5/7 lead-in and 11% from the year-ago 4.4/11.

Of the new court shows, Twentieth TV’s Christina Court earned a 1.1/4, declining 8% from its 1.2/4 lead-in and year-ago numbers.

Sony’s Judge Maria Lopez continued to perform consistently, with a 0.9/3 in week one, up 13% from its lead-in and time period average of 0.8/2. On Monday, it matched its 0.9/3 debut number from the previous Monday.

Of the new off-net sitcoms debuting Monday, Buena Vista TV’s According to Jim opened with the highest numbers for any of the four new syndicated comedies this season. It pulled a 1.4/3 in 52 metered markets, down 13% from its 1.6/3 lead-in and down 26% from its 1.9/4 time period average.

In New York, it beat Conan O’Brien at 1 a.m. on WPIX, where it garnered a 1.6/6 to Conan’s 1.4/5.

BVT’s Scrubs debuted with a 1.0/2 in 53 metered markets, down 17% from its lead-in and time period averages of 1.2/3.

Among the national strips debuting the Labor Day week ended Sept. 10, BVT’s Regis opened its 19th season of Live (Kelly Ripa joined in 2001) with a 3.4 rating, 10% higher for the week and 6% above a 3.2 the previous year. It had a five-day average.

Telepictures’ Ellen opened its fourth season with a four-day average of a 2.1, up 31% from the prior week mark of 1.6 and 5% ahead of the year-ago average of 2.0.

The magazine shows remained strong for the fourth straight week, with coverage of croc hunter’ Steve Irwin’s death and Katie Couric’s open week as the CBS Evening News anchor helping them out.