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‘Ellen’ Hits Series Highs As Oscar Telecast Nears

Perhaps boosted by pre-Oscar chatter in advance of her hosting gig, Ellen DeGeneres’ daytime talkshow drew its largest audience ever last week.

In a Jan. 27-31 frame that saw the most popular daytime talkshows post impressive year-over-year gains, Nielsen estimates that “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” averaged a 3.3 household rating and 4.6 million viewers overall — both series bests for the show, which is now in its 11th season. It was up about 5% in viewership from the previous week and up 25% vs. the same week a year ago.

That put “Ellen” neck-and-neck with “Live With Kelly & Michael” (3.4 in households, 4.61 million) for second place among syndicated talkshows, with the latter up 25% from last year. They both lagged “Dr. Phil” (3.9 household rating, 5.36 million), which itself was up 27% vs. last year.

DeGeneres is set to host the Academy Awards on March 2. When she hosted previously, in 2007, the show averaged a big 14.1 rating/33 share in adults 18-49 and 40.18 million viewers overall — a demo number that hasn’t been topped since.

In addition to “Dr. Phil,” “Ellen” and “Live With Kelly & Michael,” another standout talkshow gainer last week was “The Steve Harvey Show,” which was up nearly 40% vs. the same frame last year (to a 2.2 household rating and 3.07 million total viewers).

In the key daytime demo of women 25-54, “Ellen” was No. 2 last week (2.0 rating), behind “Dr. Phil” (2.3) and a tick ahead of “Live” (1.9). Guests on “Ellen” last week included Jay Leno and Zac Efron.

Season-to-date, “Ellen” is up 12% in households (to 2.8 rating), 13% in total viewers (3.86 million). It is the talkshow leader (narrowly ahead of “Dr. Phil” and “Live With Michael & Kelly”) in both women 18-49 (1.4) and women 25-54 (1.8).

Elsewhere in syndication, “Family Feud” hit another high in households (6.3, up 5% week-to-week) and again was the No. 1 syndicated gameshow — ahead of both “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy” — in women 25-54.

And “Divorce Court” was the biggest year-over-year gainer among all syndicated programs, growing 43% in households (2.0 rating) and 50% in total viewers (to 2.94 million) vs. the same week a year ago. The Judge Lynn Toler-hosted court program, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary season, also hit a four-year high in women 25-54 (1.2).

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