NEW YORK – Ellen DeGeneres (search) has a blossoming hit on her hands.
DeGeneres' new talk show, "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," premiered three weeks ago and is off to a solid start.
More importantly, it looks to be the only new talk show likely to get better - both in content and in ratings growth - as time goes by.
"It's the best of the batch," says industry analyst Marc Berman of Mediaweek. "It's not a breakout hit like 'Dr. Phil,' but 'Ellen' doesn't have 'Phil's' timeslots.
"I see 'Ellen' as being successful," Berman says. "It's well done and easy to watch."
Daytime TV has been looking for a new show to replace Rose O'Donnell (search) in the No. 3 spot - behind Oprah and Dr. Phil.
"Ellen's" competition among the new talk shows includes Telepictures stablemate "The Sharon Osbourne Show" (search) - which hasn't fared as well - and King World's "Living It Up! With Ali & Jack," whose ratings woes have been the source of much publicity.
While "Ellen" has shown consistent growth in the big cities - improving her timeslot predecessors virtually everywhere - the show has especially opened eyes with its performance in New York.
"If the pattern continues as it is right now, this is a show we're going to be talking about as long as Ellen [DeGeneres] wants to do it," says Katz Media's Bill Carroll. "Even those who are not totally objective would have to look at her numbers and the show and say this has the potential to be a long-term show."
"I think, right now, 'Ellen' has definitely hit a positve nerve in the viewing audience - she's fresh and different and they've found a way to bring out her unique style and her unique sense of humor."
"In terms of ratings it's better than 'Sharon,' and forget about 'Ali & Jack,'" Berman says. "It's doing very well and is getting a lot of viewership in New York, which is a big positive.
"I think Ellen is here to stay."