The first episode of Katie Couric's new syndicated series, "Katie," earned the highest ratings among all the new talk shows that have debuted this month.
Her program's premiere, which featured interviews with singers Jessica Simpson and Sheryl Crow, aired on Monday, September 10 and earned a 2.8 rating and an 8 share in 56 metered markets, according to preliminary data released by its distributor, the Disney-ABC Domestic Television Group, which owns KABC Television, OTRC.com's parent company.
"Katie" beat competitors such as "Survivor" host Jeff Probst's new talk show, whose Monday premiere received a 1.0 rating, and returning daytime star Ricki Lake's new series, which got a 0.8 rating.
Also, Monday's season 2 premiere of Anderson Cooper's talk show, "Anderson," received a 1.3 rating. Steve Harvey's talk show debuted on September 4 to a 1.5 rating.
The 2006 premiere of Rachael Ray's syndicated talk show, "The Rachael Ray Show," received a 2.8 rating and a 9 share among its 55 metered markets. She and Couric now both hold the highest ratings for a syndicated talk show opener since the 2002 premiere of "Dr. Phil." In its opening week, that program averaged a 5.2 rating - the highest earned by a freshman talk series since "The Oprah Winfrey Show" premiered in 1986.
"Dr. Phil" host Dr. Phil McGraw was introduced via Winfrey's series, the most successful talk series to date, which ended in May 2011 after 25 seasons. Couric, previously known for hosting NBC's "Today" show and the CBS "Evening News," told OTRC.com that she is "absolutely not" the "the new Oprah" but praised Winfrey, who launched her own cable network, OWN, in January 2011.
On the "Katie" premiere on Monday, Simpson debuted her post-baby body publicly for the first time since giving birth on May 1 to her daughter Maxwell Drew, who is her and fiance Eric Johnson's first child. The singer and fashion mogul also talked about her experience using Weight Watchers, for whom she works as a spokesmodel, and the pressures she felt from the media to work off the baby weight as quickly as possible.
Crow opened up about her benign brain tumor after revealing her diagnosis in May. She speculated that her past use of "old archaic cell phones" for media interviews may have caused the mass to grow adding: "There are no doctors that will confirm that."
Other celebrity guests are also scheduled to appear on "Katie" this week. On Wednesday, the show is set to feature an interview with supermodel and "Project Runway" host Heidi Klum, who is going through a divorce with husband Seal, with whom she shares four children. Singer and former "American Idol" judge Jennifer Lopez is scheduled to appear on Friday.
Aimee Copeland, who lost parts of all her limbs to a flesh-eating bacteria earlier this summer, is set to appear on "Katie" on Thursday.