By Susanne Ault -- Broadcasting & Cable, 8/19/2001 8:00:00 PM
It's not easy being the new kid on the block. Like most syndicated series of late, fall 2001 rookie Iyanla debuted with modest numbers.
The Buena Vista talk strip hosted by self-help guru Iyanla Vanzant logged a 1.5 rating/5 share weighted metered-market average for its first two days. Several midnight clearances could be blamed for the low ratings, except that the score is 12% below the same time slots last year, which takes the late runs into account.
Also, those two-day numbers are 25% lower than the averaged rating of the lead-in programs. And second-day marks (1.4/5) were down 7% from the first day (1.5/5).
However, Iyanla should be able to build a following, say Buena Vista executives, given the fact that the project is being executive-produced by Barbara Walters and Bill Geddie, the talent behind The View. The show has won over some critics: The Washington Post described it as "surprisingly pleasant and informative," and the Hollywood Reporter said Vanzant is "perceptive and her attitude is friendly and compassionate."
Plus, "it's definitely too early to tell," reminds a Buena Vista spokesperson, observing that you have to give viewers "at least a week or two before you can expect them to get the real picture of who she is."
Some cities have caught on already. On WABC-TV New York, Iyanla posted a 2.0/7 at 12:30 a.m., 11% stronger than an Oprah repeat garnered this time last year. On KGO-TV San Francisco, Iyanla boosted its audience share 50% from the first to the second episode (2.1/12).
On KNBC-TV Los Angeles, though, in the 10 a.m. slot, where Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus struggled, Iyanla pulled a 0.9/3, coming in sixth in the market.
Iyanla is expected to pick up in the ratings come fall.
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