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2008-09 Autopsy: How Freshmen Fared

‘Deal,’ ‘Doctors’ Emerge Ahead of the Rest

Nearing the halfway point of the season, NBC Universal Domestic Television’s “Deal or No Deal” and CBS Television Distribution’s “The Doctors” are quickly pulling ahead of the freshman first-run daily syndication pack for 2008.

“Deal” and “Doctors” continue to fight for the top spot. At the beginning of December, “Doctors” posted a 1.9 season average, climbing 46% from its premiere in September, according to Nielsen Media Research.

First-Run Syndication

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“Deal” remained close behind with a 1.8 season-to-date average, up 13% from its debut. At press time, “The Doctors” remains the only freshman series to receive a pickup for next season.

As “Deal” and “Doctors” shoot it out at the front of the pack, nearly a full ratings point separates the second- and third-place programs, as Sony Pictures Television’s “Judge Karen” is holding a 1.0 season-to-date average.

“Karen” has slipped 9% from its premiere.

In fourth place, Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution’s “The Bonnie Hunt Show” remains nearly flat with its start. It’s averaging a 0.9 household rating, up 13%, or a tenth of a ratings point, from its premiere.

Tied for last place, Program Partners’ “Family Court With Judge Penny” and Debmar-Mercury’s “Trivial Pursuit: America Plays” have held on to a 0.6 average, the same as their premiere ratings.

Among weekend fare, Disney-ABC’s “Legend of the Seeker” averaged a 1.9 household rating, a sharp 53% decline from its two-hour premiere in November. However, the show’s premiere episode was given preferential time periods versus its standard airings.

“Seeker’s” second episode posted a 2.0 household rating, giving a better indication of what the show typically was going to rate.

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