Katie Couric finished first among new daytime talk shows during its premiere week, early stats suggest.
“Katie’s” week, which started big before taking a spill, ended strong Friday with a Jennifer Lopez interview. (Couric got J-Lo to comment on the new “American Idol” judging panel by incorrectly assuring her that Fox had confirmed the names — which Fox did not do until Sunday).
But “Katie” finished No. 4 among all syndicated daytime talk shows. The top spot belonged to returning Ellen DeGeneres, whose early numbers are up 45 percent, compared with the same week last year. Ellen owes some of that uptick to better lead-in numbers in several key markets, compliments of Steve Harvey’s new talk show.
And “Live! With Kelly” actually achieved the biggest opening number of all when it officially unveiled Michael Strahan as Kelly Ripa’s new co-host and the show was renamed “Live! With Kelly and Michael.” That opener had been cleverly scheduled a week early, to avoid the crush.
Jeff Probst’s and Ricki Lake’s new talkers brought up the rear during “syndie talker premiere week,” early numbers suggest. Unfortunately, by the time final Nielsen numbers on this front come out next week, we all will have moved on.
The Emmy Awards ceremony isn’t happening until Sunday, but already this becomes the year that the Kathy Bates Emmy curse ended.
Charlie Harper’s, too.
Bates, who’d been on track to become the Susan Lucci of the Primetime Emmy Awards, — having been nominated 11 times without winning the industry’s highest honor — won her first Emmy on Saturday, for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series. She played Charlie Harper on CBS’s “Two and a Half Men.”
Ironically, Charlie Sheen was nominated four times as the show’s original Charlie Harper, but none of his noms led to an Emmy win.
Bates was awarded her first Emmy during the so-called Creative Arts Emmys ceremony — the first part of the two-day orgy of trophy-dispensing. On Saturday, statuettes were handed out for best hair, makeup, lighting, casting, music, editing, etc. A couple of acting, directing and show categories were thrown in, too, to make the night more viewer-friendly for the two-hour clip job that’s telecast annually (this year by ReelzChannel) the night before the Emmys glamcast, which will air on ABC this year.
(Sheen, of course, could not return to play Harper, who’d been flattened by a train in Paris at the start of last season, when the writers decided to bring the character back from the beyond. Sheen had been sacked from the show at the end of the previous season, after a very public verbal fracas with the show creator and studio. Besides, it was funnier to have Bates play Harper and visit his hallucinating brother, Alan, in the hospital, telling him: “I’m in hell . . . in this old broad’s body . . . eternal damnation.”)
“My thanks & respect to the inimitable Charlie Sheen without whom this recognition would not have been possible,” Bates tweeted after her win. She wasn’t present to say the same when she picked up her Emmy; instead, presenter Lisa Kudrow, accepting on Bates’s behalf, joked onstage: “Kathy Bates could not be here tonight because she started reading ‘50 Shades of Grey’ this morning.”
Bates’s win means she’ll be a presenter at Sunday’s Emmys broadcast, where she stands to win another Emmy. She’s nominated in the lead actress/drama category for her role in the now-defunct NBC series “Harry’s Law.” The actress, who last week revealed that she was recovering from a double mastectomy, recently tweeted: “I don’t miss my breasts as much as I miss ‘Harry’s Law.’ ”
Heading into Saturday’s ceremony, Bates had received 11 Emmy nominations over the years — 10 acting noms and one for directing. A three-time Oscar nominee, Bates also won an Academy Award, in 1991.
Over the weekend, CBS’s broadcast of “The Kennedy Center Honors” copped the Emmy for Best Variety Special, as well as for Best Music Direction.
In winning the variety-special trophy, the annual KenCen event beat NBC’s Betty White 90th-birthday salute, Kathy Griffin’s “Tired Hooker” special on Bravo, an HBO reunion of Mel Brooks and Dick Cavett, and PBS’s “Great Performance” broadcast of “Tony Bennett: Duets II.”
“The Kennedy Center Honors beat ‘Tired Hooker’??? What kind of country is this? I blame Taylor Swift,” tweeted Kathy Griffin some time after that was announced. Maybe Griffin thought better of her reaction during the ceremony, in which she suggested — three times — that we all get intimate with “the Kennedy Honors,” which is sure to get bleeped out of the Reelz-cast.