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Ratings rise after Regis says bye

"Live! With Kelly and Michael" up 8 percent

Regis who?

Disney-ABC’s “Live!” is doing just fine without the legendary host who exited the show last November. In fact, even though last year at this time “Live! With Regis and Kelly” was busy saying good-bye to Regis Philbin after nearly 30 years, this year, “Live! With Kelly and Michael” is up across the board.

On Sept. 4, Fox NFL commentator and former New York Giant defensive end Michael Strahan was named Kelly Ripa’s permanent co-host. Since then, the numbers have only improved for one of daytime’s longest-running hits.

“Our show’s ratings have always been very consistent, but there are so many factors involved with what creates a show’s ratings on a particular day that you have to look at a longer-term trend,” says Michael Gelman, “Live’s!” executive producer. “When Michael (Strahan) would come on last year, we wouldn’t see any ratings pop, but neither would we see a drop. The bottom line is that we felt in our guts that Michael was going to be the best choice, and the audience is voting ‘yes.’ ”

Season-to-date in households, “Live!” has increased 8% to a season-to-date 2.6 live-plus-same-day average, up from last year’s 2.4 over the same time frame. In viewers, the show has improved 4%, from to an average of 3.35 million viewers.

The only other syndie talker to be up over last year is Warner Bros.’ “Ellen,” which is having the best year in its decade-long history. Season-to-date, “Ellen” has improved 14% in households to a 2.4 and 10% in viewers season-to-date, with 3.15 million. Every other talkshow is down compared with last year. Even CBS Television Distribution’s talk leader, “Dr. Phil,” is off a bit, dropping 6% in households to a 2.9 and 5% in viewers to 3.85 million.

Perhaps even more significantly, however, “Live!” has gained steam among the young female viewers that advertisers covet. In all three key female demographics — women 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54 — “Live!” is up 17%, 10% and 15%, respectively, in the national ratings.

In the 56 metered markets that use people meters to measure audiences, “Live!” is up even more significantly, gaining 33% among women 18-34, 30% among women 18-49, and 21% among women 25-54, Gelman says.

Two factors are likely contributing to “Live!’s” improved performance. The first is the arrival of Strahan, who viewers seem to enjoy paired with Ripa. The second is that ABC’s “Good Morning America” also is up in ratings, and that show provides “Live’s!” lead-in in half its markets, including WABC New York, the show’s home market and the nation’s biggest.

So this is one ayem rush that appears due to the presence of many players.

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