Ellen Degeneres's first week as a judge on American Idol not only drew much praise from critics and viewers alike, it also helped boost the ratings of her own daytime talk show, which shot to their highest level ever. According to Nielsen figures, they rose 26 percent from the comparable week a year ago. An incident on her show on Monday in which chef Gordon Ramsay, giving a cooking demonstration, cut his finger drew hundreds of comments on social networking sites and will likely give Degeneres's daytime show even headier audience figures next week. (Today's New York Times observed that "water-cooler conversations" taking place online are boosting the ratings of numerous shows and are being credited for the record ratings for the Winter Olympics.)