With a 2.3 national household rating, the 2006 syndie debut “Rachael Ray” marked the best premiere of a syndicated talkshow since CBS Television Distribution’s “Dr. Phil” in 2002. Since then, no show has bested that opening, with only Sony’s 2009 debuts of “Dr. Oz” tying that number.

Since those early days, CTD’s “Rachael Ray” has settled into the middle of the talk pack, ranking sixth out of 13 talkshows with a 1.7 live plus same day household rating in the November sweep. That’s up 6% compared to November 2010, and a gain of approximately 100,000 viewers per episode, which now reaches approximately 2 million viewers.

Perhaps more importantly, in the key demographic of women ages 25 to 54, “Rachael Ray” is up 22% from November 2010.

CTD recently secured the immediate future of “Rachael Ray,” renewing the show through the 2013-14 season.

The key to the steady ratings of “Rachael Ray” is its performance in some of the country’s top markets. On Tribune’s WGN Chicago at 10 a.m., the show is up 100% among households and up 170% among women 25-54, says Marty Wilke, WGN’s president-g.m.

“I think the show has definitely benefited from the ‘Oprah’ effect here in Chicago,” Wilke says. Chicago, which was its home, was the only major market where “Oprah” aired in the morning. With “Oprah” off the air, other shows, including Disney-ABC’s “Live! With Kelly” as well as “Rachael Ray,” are attracting new viewers.

“Rachael Ray” also is strong on ABC’s WPVI Philadelphia, where it’s up 25% among households and 61% among women 25-54.

However, two challenging markets for the show are the country’s top two cities: New York and Los Angeles. On WABC New York, “Rachael Ray” at 10 a.m. draws the lowest household ratings of any show on the station in daytime at a 1.8, down 13% from last year and down 48% from its “Live! With Kelly” lead-in.

In Los Angeles, a notoriously tough daytime market, “Rachael Ray” was downgraded this season to CBS’ KCAL at 8 a.m., where it’s doing a 0.2 rating in households. Last year, the show aired on KCAL’s big brother, KCBS, at 9 a.m. and turned in a 0.9.

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