Kelly Ripa is making viewers forget Kathie Lee Gifford. Ripa, who has been Regis Philbin's co-host on syndicated talk show Live WithRegis and Kelly
for one year now, is rejuvenating the 14-year-old show.
Live, distributed by Disney-owned Buena Vista Television, is up across the board in the national syndicated ratings—especially with the key daytime demographic, young women.
"Kelly and Regis have had fabulous chemistry; they have sort of sparked a ratings resurgence that is rare in a show of this age," says Buena Vista Senior Vice President of Strategic Research Lloyd Komesar. "You rarely see a show that has been on this long that's able to reinvent itself and surge like our show has surged."
Thus far in the 2001-02 season, Live is averaging 4.8 million viewers, a 3.9 rating in households, a 1.7 in women 18-34 and a 2.1 in women 18-49, according to Nielsen Media Research—an increase of nearly 500,000 viewers per episode from last season at this time and a jump of 42% and 24% in women 18-34 and 18-49, respectively. From the 1999-2000 season, when Gifford was still on the show, Live
is up a whopping 70% in women 18-34 and 31% in women 18-49.
Ripa, still starring on All My Children,
had an almost seamless entry onto the show and even gave birth in her first season. Philbin, who moonlights on ABC's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, has a rapport with Ripa very similar to his and Gifford's.
"I think there is more growth in this show ahead," Komesar says. "The attraction young women feel for this particular chemistry between Kelly and Regis is remarkable. They are coming back, and that's fueling the growth."