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Katie Couric Show Draws Largest Audience in Decade in Debut

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Sept. 11 (Bloomberg) -- “Katie,” the ABC-distributed program featuring former CBS news anchor Katie Couric, attracted the largest audience in a decade for a new daytime talk show.

The show produced a 2.8 rating in its debut yesterday, according to Nielsen data supplied by the producers. That was the biggest audience for a new daytime talk show since “Dr. Phil” in 2002, they said. A ratings point equals 1 percent of the 114.7 million U.S. TV homes.

The debut marked a strong start of the fall daytime season for stations owned by Walt Disney Co.’s ABC, many of which carried Oprah Winfrey before she left broadcast TV for cable. “Katie” ranked first or second in its time period in each of the top 15 U.S. markets, including No. 1 finishes in New York and Los Angeles, ABC said today in a statement.

Disney, the world’s largest entertainment company, rose 0.1 percent to $51.56 at the close in New York. Shares of the Burbank, California-based company have gained 37 percent this year. An all-time closing high of $51.86 was reached Sept. 6.

Couric, 55, who anchored the “CBS Evening News” for five years after being on NBC’s “Today” for 15 years, is executive producer of the show with Jeff Zucker, former chief executive officer of NBC Universal. The program is distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television.

“Katie” averaged bigger audiences than debut episodes of daytime competitors “Steve Harvey,” which drew a 1.5 rating on Sept. 4, a 1 rating by “Jeff Probst” and a 0.8 rating for “Ricki Lake,” Disney said, citing preliminary Nielsen data.

Couric’s show also outdrew the 1.3 rating for the second-year premiere of “Anderson,” featuring CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, Disney said, citing Nielsen data.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andy Fixmer in Los Angeles at afixmer@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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