Katie Couric is making a splash with her new talk show, and appears to have a leg up in the race to fill the void left when Oprah Winfrey ended her daytime show to start her own network. But it’s a crowded race.
Couric posted the best numbers for a premiere since Dr. Phil went solo with his show 10 years ago, after appearing as a regular on Oprah. He now claims to be the highest-rated daytime show.
Couric pulled in 2.8 percent of television watchers in the nation’s top 56 markets, according to Nielsen, which tracks audience habits.
New TV Talk Shows Off, Running
Here’s how TV talk shows fared in the ratings yesterday during the first day of premiere week. More detailed figures will be available later.
Katie Couric: 2.8 percent of viewing audience. Couric brings her Today Show formula to afternoon television in a format aimed at women. Steve Harvey: 1.5 percent; Show debuted Sept. 4. Harvey is best known as a comedian. He plans to offer ” down-to-earth advice.” Anderson Cooper: 1.3 percent for Monday season premiere on cable CNN. Cooper is a seasoned news veteran who floats between hard and soft news subjects. Jeff Probst: 1 percent of homes in Monday debut. Probst is best known for his role on “Survivor.” His show will focus on similar slice-of-life stories about overcoming obstacles. Ricki Lake: 0.8 percent for debut on Monday. Lake is a talk show veteran who appeals to a younger demographic.
She’s going up against new talk shows hosted by “Survivor” emcee Jeff Probst, talk show veteran Ricki Lake, comedian Steve Harvey and veterans like Anderson Cooper and Ellen DeGeneres.
Couric’s show opened with a funny dream sequence that featured a surprise appearance by her old “Today Show” colleague Matt Lauer.
Surprisingly, her first guest was a lightweight as well, or a least a lighter weight. Jessica Simpson, a Weight Watchers spokeswoman, talked about her effort to shed the 84 pounds she gained while pregnant. Some critics said Couric did a poor job of controlling the interview, allowing Simpson to turn it into a Weight Watchers commercial.
Couric has a reputation for her ability to ask tough questions but how soon her audience sees that remains to be seen. The show is obviously pitched to women and soft subjects.
But Couric will journey further into tabloid territory on Wednesday (Sept. 12) with an interview with supermodel Heidi Klum. It will focus on the model’s divorce from UK singer Seal and allegations she cheated with the “hired help,” her bodyguard.
Couric also spent part of the show reintroducing herself to the audience. After she left the “Today” Show in April 2006. She anchored the “CBS Evening News,” but failed to connect in the more serious role and left the network last year.