Katie Couric scored big ratings in her debut Monday as a newly minted talk-show star.
The premiere episode of her new syndicated afternoon show, “Katie,” scored a 2.8 rating with an 8 share, according to Nielsen data culled from 56 cities — Nielsen’s so-called “overnight” markets.
What the numbers mean: The “rating” of 2.8 is a percentage of the U.S. TV households where the show was viewed Monday afternoon. Nielsen estimates the total number of U.S. TV households at 114 million. The 8 “share” is a percentage of all the TV sets in use that were tuned into her show.
A so-called “total viewer” number — which would give us the number of viewers who watched the debut of “Katie” — was unavailable. Usually, the “total viewer” count for syndicated daytime shows takes about a week to be generated.
ABC noted that the 2.8/8 represented the best debut of a new syndicated talk show in 10 years. The show that last performed this well in its debut was “Dr. Phil” in 2002. Besides “Dr. Phil,” 25 daytime talk shows have premiered in those 10 years, ABC said, and none scored as well as “Katie” on their first days.
The Tuesday press release from ABC — which is the company syndicating the Couric show — also noted that she far outpaced the other new talk-show contenders. According to ABC, “The Jeff Probst Show” scored a 1.0 rating/3 share on Monday, “The Ricki Lake Show” had a 0.8/2 (also on Monday) and “Steve Harvey” had a 1.5/4 (when he debuted a week earlier).
Our take: Certainly, first-day ratings are often robust for new TV shows that receive the kind of advanced build-up that the Couric show got over the last few weeks. But even if her ratings decline some in the days ahead, she still has a good chance of emerging eventually with the highest-rated show in daytime talk. That 2.8 was higher than the established shows — such as “Ellen,” for example — have been scoring. And later this week, Katie has high-profile interviews with Heidi Klum (on Wednesday — Klum’s first since splitting from her husband, Seal) and Jennifer Lopez (Friday).