How Kelly Clarkson’s Talk Show ‘Kellyoked’ Its Way to the Hottest Syndicated Launch Since 2012

“We are living in a world that is craving content that connects us,” Tracie Wilson, executive vice president of creative affairs at NBCUniversal Television, says

The Kelly Clarkson Show - Season 1
Photo by: Weiss Eubanks/NBCUniversal

tony maglio ratings report banner Ratings for Kelly Clarkson’s new syndicated daytime talk show are “Stronger” than anyone expected. Buckle up, we’ve got a lot of numbers and a lot of her song-title puns coming at you. Averaging a 1.5 household rating each day, “The Kelly Clarkson Show” is the highest-rated syndicated talk show to launch since Katie Couric’s “Katie” (a 1.9 at this same point in the freshman season) debuted in September 2012, according to Nielsen’s Live + 7 Day data through Nov. 17. “Kelly” is averaging 2 million daily viewers, whereas “Katie” got 2.5 million. That’s pretty good company to be in, but the competition between Kelly and Katie would actually be closer these days. In today’s landscape, that first season of “Katie” would very unlikely have — or possibly even approach — the same 1.9 rating and 2.5 million viewers. Generally speaking, television ratings were significantly higher seven years ago. In 2019, all these new viewing platforms fragment any one series’ potential audience. So how well is “Kelly” faring among the current environment’s competition? Well, she’s beating the pants off of Tamron Hall’s own new talk show, which itself averages a 1.0 rating and 1.3 million viewers — and that one is considered a big Year 1 success too. While Clarkson’s effort is on the mountain peak looking down at all the newbies, she is nowhere near the top goat in the space, however. That distinction belongs to “Dr. Phil,” which draws a massive 2.6 rating and 3.5 million viewers to each audience. No one is touching No. 1. How has Clarkson gotten off with such a hot — and sustained, to this point — start? We brought exactly that question and more to Tracie Wilson, the executive vice president of creative affairs at NBCUniversal Television Distribution. Wilson boiled down the newest hit talk show’s success to four parts:
  • “We are living in a world that is craving content that is inclusive and connects us,” she told TheWrap. “Music brings people together.” Wilson pointed to the popular “Kellyoke” segment as something that “differentiates us.” With “Kellyoke,” Clarkson opens each show by performing a song that an audience member has a special connection to. That audience member gets to tell Kelly (and everyone watching) why the song is so near and dear to their heart.
  • “Kelly Clarkson is one of us,” Wilson said. We know her “humor and heart” from “American Idol” and “The Voice,” and Wilson says, “Our guests and our viewers really respond positively to those qualities on a very personal level.”
  • The guests: “The Kelly Clarkson Show” has a panel on every show comprised of both celebrities and “everyday people,” Wilson said. That leads to someone like Dwayne Johnson, Jennifer Garner or Blake Shelton, as examples, “sitting on the couch next to a single mom in need of support, a teacher, a scientist or a young activist who are working to make their communities and the world a better place,” in Wilson’s words.
  • Here’s a name you probably don’t know: Alex Duda. The showrunner has what Wilson described to us as “a very clear creative vision and talent for storytelling. Watching an episode of ‘The Kelly Clarkson Show’ leaves you feeling like you just got a warm and welcome hug,” Wilson said.
Clearly that embrace has gone both ways — and especially among younger viewers. “The Kelly Clarkson Show” is the youngest-skewing first-run syndicated daytime talk show of the Top 4, which also includes “Live With Kelly & Ryan” and “Ellen.” In other words, those are a lot of people with a lot of TV-watching years ahead of them. The hourlong “Kelly Clarkson Show, produced and distributed by NBCUniversal Television Distribution, airs in 100% of the country on more than 200 stations.

Here’s its description:

“The Kelly Clarkson Show” is the uplifting daytime destination for humor, heart, and connection featuring singer/songwriter, mother and America’s original idol, Kelly Clarkson. “The Kelly Clarkson Show” features the biggest names in film, television and music; as well as emerging new talent and community heroes. Her “weekday hang” will also include live performances, games and Kelly’s unfiltered perspective on life, family, kids, relationships, marriage and things that make her laugh her along the way.

Wilson and NBCU Television Distribution are cashing in on a moment like this: “The Kelly Clarkson Show,” which premiered on Sept. 9, has already been renewed through 2021.