Katie Couric, left, interviews Jessica Simpson about motherhood on the… (AP / Ida Mae Astute )
The Great Daytime Talk Show War of 2012 is only a day old, but so far Katie Couric is in the lead. In preliminary ratings, Monday’s premiere of “Katie,” in which the “Today” veteran and former “CBS Evening News” anchor gabbed with Jessica Simpson and Sheryl Crow, drew an estimated 1.535-million viewers from the top 56 U.S. markets (overall viewership numbers, drawn from the country as a whole, are expected to be considerably higher).
This put Couric comfortably ahead of the freshman talk-show pack: “Katie” outdrew “Steve Harvey” by 87%, “Jeff Probst” by 150% and “Ricki Lake” by a whopping 250%. The show also earned the highest daytime premiere ratings since “Dr. Phil” launched back in 2002.
“Katie” was also No. 1 in its time slot in New York and Los Angeles, the top two television markets in the country. (No word yet on how the show fared in Wasilla, Alaska.)
The news can be interpreted one of three ways: Couric is in fact destined to become the next Oprah Winfrey; her aggressive pre-launch promotional blitz worked; or Americans simply haven’t tired of hearing about Jessica Simpson’s diet.
Of course, a daytime talk show is more like a marathon — make that an ultra-marathon — than a sprint, so it’s far too soon for “Katie” to declare victory just yet. But for today at least, Couric has plenty to be smiling about.
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