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Syndication Ratings: 'Katie' Premieres as Top Talk Rookie, 'Ellen' Has Best Premiere In Ten-Year History

As anticipated, Disney-ABC's Katie earned top rookie honors for its premiere in the week ended Sept. 16, averaging a 2.0 live-plus-same-day national household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research.

That's the highest talk premiere since Sony Pictures Television's Dr. Oz opened in 2009 at a 2.3. However, Katie's numbers have been falling in the metered markets so next week's national number is expected to be down.

NBCUniversal's Steve Harvey, in its second week, held steady at a 1.2. CTD's Jeff Probst bowed at a 0.7. Twentieth's Ricki Lake was reprocessed by Nielsen, making its national ratings unavailable. Of the four, Katie's clearances are by far the strongest, airing predominantly at 3 and 4 p.m. on ABC owned and affiliated stations.

Meanwhile, CTD's Dr. Phil premiered at the top of the talk heap, opening at a 2.6, up 4% from an all-original week in the prior frame. That's down 33% from last year's 3.9 premiere, which featured an exclusive interview with the parents of the acquitted Casey Anthony.

Warner Bros.' Ellen opened to its biggest premiere ever as it headed into its tenth-season premiere. The show took second place in households at a 2.5, up 56% from the previous week, when the show was in repeats, and up 9% compared to last year at this time.

Perhaps more importantly, Ellen was the top performer among the key daytime demographic of women 25-54, beating both Dr. Phil, and Disney-ABC's Live! with Kelly and Michael and SPT's Dr. Oz, which tied for third in households. Among women 25-54, Ellen hit a 1.6. Live! came in second in the demo at a 1.4. Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz tied with NBCUniversal's Maury for third at a 1.2.

Meanwhile, Live! with Kelly and Michael dropped 14% to a 2.4 in its second week, after introducing the show's new co-host, Fox NFL commentator Michael Strahan, on Sept. 4. Year to year, Live! is down 4%. Tying Live!, Dr. Oz was down 17% in households for the year in its season-four premiere.

NBCU's conflict talker, Maury, which didn't premiere until Sept. 17, dropped 5% for the week to a 2.0, tying Katie. CTD's Rachael Ray, also in repeats, retreated 13% for the week to a 1.3. That tied CTD's The Doctors, which premiered during the week, and NBCU's Jerry Springer, which did not. The Doctors declined 7% compared to the prior the week and 13% compared to the prior year. Springer was flat for the week. NBCU's Steve Wilkos, also in repeats, dropped 8% to a 1.2.

Warner Bros.' Anderson Live! opened its sophomore season at a 1.0, even with the prior week. Anderson Live! is down 40% compared to the 1.4 it scored for its national premiere last year.

Anderson Live! tied Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams, which is headed into its fourth season and flat compared to last year. Debmar-Mercury's Jeremy Kyle, also in its second season, was flat at a 0.5.

Debmar-Mercury's Family Feud was the big game story, spiking 22% from the prior week to a 3.9 after getting upgraded to access and prime time slots in 70% of the country. That's a 30% increase over the show's prior-year performance, and Feud's best showing since March 9, 1992, long before host Steve Harvey took over in Sept. 2010. Feud also became the game demo leader, beating both CTD's Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! with a 1.9, a 46% increase from the prior week.

Meanwhile, Wheel inched ahead 2% in households from the prior week to a 5.9, and Jeopardy! added 7% to a 4.8. Disney-ABC's Who Wants to be a Millionaire faded 13% to a 2.0.

CTD's Judge Judy opened its 17th season at a 6.3, up 11% from the prior week and securing Judy's spot at the highest-rated show in first-run syndication. Compared to last year, Judy fell 5%. CTD's Judge Joe Brown was steady for the week at a 2.4. Warner Bros.' People's Court sank 5% for the week to a 1.8. Warner Bros.' Judge Mathis softened 6% to a 1.5. Twentieth's Judge Alex and Divorce Court both were flat for the week at a 1.4. Entertainment Studios' America's Court dropped 9% from the prior week to a 1.0.

The magazines all were steady to higher week to week. CTD's leader, Entertainment Tonight, grew 6% for the week to a 3.3. CTD's Inside Edition recovered from a multi-year low with a 17% rebound to a 2.8. Warner Bros.' TMZ improved 9% to a 1.9. NBCU's Access Hollywood was steady at a 1.7. Warner Bros.' Extra improved 7% to a 1.5, the show's highest rating in seven weeks. CTD's The Insider was flat at a 1.3. Twentieth's Dish Nation, this year's rookie magazine, premiered at a 0.8.

Warner Bros.' The Big Bang Theory led the off-net sitcoms and all of syndication at a 6.5, a 2% dip from the prior week. Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men declined 4% to a 4.7. Twentieth's Family Guy slipped 3% to a 3.7. Twentieth's How I Met Your Mother lost 11% to a 2.5. Sony's Seinfeld sank 5% to a 2.1. Warner Bros.' Friends finished 18% higher at a 2.0, tying Twentieth's King of the Hill, which fell 5%. CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond retreated 17% to a 1.9.