Hey Jimmy Kimmel, if you ever want to quit that whole late-night thing, there's probably a permanent morning show gig with your name on it.
And Jussie Smollett, should "Empire" ever end, you're likely ABC's early second choice to replace Michael Strahan on "Live!" (Then again, the singer could just quit the hit Fox hip-hop soap opera soon, which has been reported as an actual possibility.)
Kelly Ripa's first wave of guest co-hosts now have their syndicated TV ratings in the books, and the "Jimmy Kimmel Live" host scored a comfortable lead over the others. Smollett was two-tenths of a point behind him.
On Monday, May 16, Kimmel helped "Live With Kelly" haul in a 3.3 rating, per Nielsen. The next day, Jussie Smollett nabbed a 3.1 rating, which is six percent lower.
Of course, there are factors other than simple co-host popularity factoring in here. Intrigue would clearly be higher the first episode, which Kimmel was granted. Plus, viewing levels are lower towards the end of the week — and even guests could also inspire tune-in or a lack thereof.
Here are the guests that were scheduled for each day:
Monday (Kimmel): Gordon Ramsay, Priyanka Chopra
Tuesday (Smollett): Andy Samberg, Michael Weatherly
Wednesday (Cedric): Zac Efron, Josh Gad
Thursday (Muir): Julianne Moore, Rose Byrne
Friday (Kim): Blake Shelton, Science Bob
Across the five days, "Live With Kelly" dipped 9 percent from Strahan's final week, but its 3.0 average was still up from the show's season average and from the same week last year. "Live" finished runner-up to "Dr. Phil," trailing by just one-tenth of a ratings point.