A lot of new big names have moved into the daytime neighborhood this fall, but viewers are choosing to spend more time with a familiar friend. The Ellen DeGeneres Show is off to its best start in its 10-year history, ranking as the No. 1 syndicated talk program among the advertiser-favored audience of women ages 25-54 through the first two weeks of the TV season. Its overall average of 3.3 million viewers is up 6 percent from a year ago, putting it behind Dr. Phil (3.8 million) and Live With Kelly and Michael (3.4 million).
When Oprah Winfrey ended her program in 2011, insiders in the syndication business wondered where her viewers would go. No program last year took immediate advantage of the upheaval, but daytime habits change glacially. "All the research indicated that after Oprah left there was a large opportunity for Ellen, and that may be playing itself out," says Ken Werner, president of Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution, which syndicates Ellen.
Regis Philbin is coming back to daytime: The former Live! co-host has signed on for a monthly guest spot on Rachael Ray.
"I can't tell you how excited I am that Regis will be a recurring special guest on our show this season," Ray said in a statement. "Regis has been a close friend of the show and a close friend of mine for years and it'll be a blast having him on the team."
On Monday's Late Late Show, Craig Ferguson debuted the new set, which features red satin drapes, a fireplace and ... a spanking station?
In Ferguson's opening monologue he described the unusual addition to his new digs. "This is a like a brand-spanking new set — and by spanking, I mean spanking," Ferguson joked. "We have a spanking station, behind the curtain. Regis [Philbin] helped me break it in."
Kelly Ripa's new co-host will make his or her debut on Tuesday, Sept. 4, ABC has announced.
Ripa, who's been hosting Live! With Kelly without a permanent co-host since Regis Philbin's departure in November, will kick off a brand new season on Monday, Sept. 3. The broadcast will mark Ripa's first time hosting solo. She'll be joined by her new partner the following day, when the pair will welcome guests Claire Danes and American Idol winner Phillip Phillips.