Ellen DeGeneres's debut Monday in the highly competitive syndicated talk-TV arena drew buoyant ratings in most metered markets across the country. In what was generally considered a very solid opening, The Ellen DeGeneres Show managed an average 17% increase in viewer levels compared with programming that occupied the same time slots a year ago. Ellen snagged a 2.1 rating/6 share in 53 metered markets. This represented an average 5% improvement on the ratings generated by its lead-in programming. The new syndicated show, which kicked off the new syndicated season along with rookie reality show Starting Over from NBC Enterprises, finished first or second in its time period in a total of 17 metered markets around the country.
The hourlong show, which featured Jennifer Aniston as DeGeneres's main guest, did its best numbers in Columbus, Ohio, where it averaged a 4.5 rating/12 share at 4 p.m. on WCMH. It finished second in the time period and increased the time-period performance by 18% compared with a year earlier. Ellen, syndicated by Warner Bros. Domestic Television, fared reasonably well in the top markets. It finished in second place in the 10 a.m. time slot in Chicago on WMAQ with a 2.8/10. This was up 133% from a year ago for the time period. On KNBC in Los Angeles, it posted a 1.4/4, up 75% from a year earlier.