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Michael Strahan’s Debut With Kelly Ripa Lifts Ratings 44%

Michael Strahan’s debut alongside Kelly Ripa on ABC’s syndicated TV program “Live With Kelly and Michael” boosted the audience by 44 percent from a year ago.

Yesterday’s show with the former New York Giants football player as co-host was the most-watched daytime program in 14 of the top 15 television markets, Walt Disney Co.’s ABC said in a e-mailed statement, citing preliminary Nielsen ratings.

ABC tapped Strahan as the permanent replacement for Regis Philbin, who retired from the show in 2011. The program had relied on guest hosts for the last nine months. Strahan, who played with the Giants for 15 years culminating with a 2008 Super Bowl victory, will continue as an on-air commentator of “Fox NFL Sunday.”

Produced by Disney’s WABC-TV in New York, the number of viewers who watched the program in that market more than doubled from September 2011, and was more than twice that of its nearest competitor, NBC’s “Today” show, according to the statement.

Disney, based in Burbank, California, climbed 2.3 percent to $50.79 at the close in New York. The stock has gained 35 percent this year.

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