Michael Strahan and Kelly Ripa during Strahan's guest-host appearance… (Donna Svennevik / Disney-ABC…)
Michael Strahan is off to quite a start on "Live!” after officially becoming Kelly Ripa's permanent cohost on Sept. 4.
In Strahan's first four days on the job, "Live!" scored its biggest premiere-week ratings in six years. Based on metered-market ratings, the long-running syndicated talk show drew an average of 2.03 million viewers last week, versus 1.77 million during the same period in 2011. Strahan's debut on Tuesday scored an estimated 2.49 million viewers, providing the show with its biggest audience since Regis Philbin bid farewell last November.
It's widely assumed that Strahan, a former defensive end for the New York Giants and a panelist on "Fox NFL Sunday," was hired to draw more male viewers to "Live!" But in a blow to conventional wisdom, his presence actually seems to be attracting more women to the show, with its numbers up among women of all ages -- especially young women -- versus the same week last year.
Less surprisingly, Strahan proved a big draw in New York, the country's No. 1 television market, where "Live!" easily bested its morning rivals. In the Big Apple, ratings for "Live!" were up 59% over last year's premiere week.
If only the Giants had performed as well last week.
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