Kelly ‘Live’ Still Trails Dr. Phil

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When Kelly Ripa found out that former co-host Michael Strahan was moving to ABC’s “Good Morning America,” she took a four-day, unplanned vacation. The day before she went walkabout, the syndicated “Live With Kelly and Michael” show drew 2.9 million U.S. households. The day she returned, 4.7 million households tuned in.

Nothing like a little drama to liven up those ratings. On Sunday, Ripa teased an announcement due Monday on who the show’s new co-host would be. The suspense ended this morning when Ryan Seacrest was introduced as the new co-host of the morning show that airs at 9 a.m. ET every weekday.

The new “Live With Kelly and Ryan” faces competition from expected new pushes by NBC, which figures to launch a new show starring Megyn Kelly, who recently left Fox to join NBC, or to rearrange a portion of its “Today” show to put a segment featuring Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb against the refurbished “Live.”

Seacrest is a popular TV personality, having spent 15 years as the host of Fox’s “American Idol.” He also hosts a daily morning radio program on iHeartRadio and a nationally syndicated weekend radio program, “America’s Top 40.”

While financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, Seacrest is tagged to earn millions from the new gig.

In the first week of April, “Live With Kelly” had a household rating of 2.2, and among women ages 25 to 54 of 1.0, for a ranking of 17th among all syndicated shows. Of the top-rated syndicated talk shows, Dr. Phil leads with a household rating of 3.3 and a 1.4 rating among women ages 25 to 54. Ripa’s show is second, and Ellen DeGeneres ranks third with 2.1 and 1.0 among women. Adding Seacrest has got to help, at least for the rating number among women.

The top-rated morning shows are ABC’s “Good Morning America” with a total viewership of 4.45 million, NBC’s “Today” show with 4.17 million viewers and CBS’s “CBS This Morning” with 3.71 million.