Oprah Winfrey wanted it to be big. But the talk diva's 25th and final season opener wasn't quite as big as she might have hoped for in the Nielsen overnight TV ratings.
Monday's premiere of the of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" actually fell short of topping the ratings both nationally and locally for Winfrey's penultimate 24th season opener last year, which featured an interview with singer Whitney Houston, much in the news at the time.
The 25th season opener Monday pulled a 7.8 national rating (9 million households), compared to an 8.0 (9.3 million) for the season debut in 2009. But as noted by spokeswoman for CBS, which distributes Winfrey's talk show nationally, Winfrey's national number may have been negatively affected by pre-emptions in some markets where United States Open tennis coverage was still in progress Monday afternoon. Altogether, Winfrey's national rating is based on data from 51metered markets.
Winfrey's national rating for Monday's show, though short of a record number, still bested her two nearest competitors -- Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz (both, interesting enough, Winfrey proteges) --by a whopping five ratings points, as both of them could do no better than 2.8 rating (3.25 million) nationally.
In Chicago, Winfrey's number for her 25th season opener -- an 8.9 (311,500 households) -- also fell short of a record rating, though it was notably better than her national rating for Monday's premiere. Last season's "Oprah" opener scored a 9.6 (336,000) rating in the Chicago market where the show originated 25 years ago.