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Syndie Talkers Rock With New Episodes

Oprah, Regis & Kelly, and Ellen scored big Tuesday coming out of reruns with original episodes.

The first of a two-part original show on Oprah Tuesday about Hurricane Katrina’s devastation soared from reruns a year ago. And Ellen’s third season premiere (a hurricane-related original aired on Labor Day) was highlighted by an amazing story in second-ranked Los Angeles, where it rebounded into second-place in its new 4 p.m. slot from a barely visible infomercial lead-in.

Overall, Ellen garnered a 2.6 rating/7 share weighted average for all runs in the 54 Nielsen metered markets, up 3% year to year (versus 50 markets in 2004). It posted a strong first-place finish in New York and in L.A., airing on KNBC, the show averaged a 2.0 rating/5 share.

That’s despite the fact its 3 p.m. lead-in was an infomercial that pulled a 0.2/0. The O&O faced a one-week lag between the departure of former 4 p.m. entrant Dr. Phil to KCBS/KCAL and the arrival of Martha Stewart’s new daytime talk show, Martha, at 3 p.m.

Oprah, meanwhile, doesn’t officially start its 20th season until Sept. 19, but the original show airing Tuesday averaged a 6.9/18 for all its runs (the primary run averaged an 8.9/21), up a massive 47% from last year (and 51% for the primary run). Oprah Winfrey ventured into New Orleans for the show.

It won its time slot in New York and Los Angeles, with its best number coming from Oklahoma, where on KOTV Tulsa at 4 p.m., it garnered a 16.4/30, up 29% from September 2004.

Regis & Kelly launched its 18th season with a 3.7/13, about on par with a year ago.

It won its time period in New York and L.A., while in its best market, Dayton, Ohio, it was up 35% at 9 a.m. on WHIO. Ellen also did its best numbers on that Dayton station, with a 26% boost to a 6.3/14 at 4 p.m.

In Nielsen’s national sample for the week ending Aug. 28, most syndicated shows held steady or declined slightly, despite nearly a million fewer people watching TV than the previous week, when there was also a huge end-of-the-season drop.

A number of shows were preempted Aug. 24 for Hurricane Katrina’s first strike into Florida.