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Syndication Ratings: Talk makes a comeback

May 28, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Syndicators are still talking about the second full week of May sweeps in which talk shows overcame a thus far lackluster book and took center stage. Now tongues are wagging about the top eight shows in the genre all making gains over the previous week.
Two of those shows were able to outperform their ratings last year, according to Nielsen Media Research for the week ending May 13.
The talk show industry has found little to boast about in recent years, with new series ranging from “Roseanne” to “Leeza” to “HouseCalls” all failing to connect with viewers. This year’s new crop fared no better, with the now-canceled “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus” unable to ride the ratings momentum of its competitors and scoring its worst rating yet with a 0.5.
The series joins “Dr. Laura” and sophomore “Queen Latifah” as outgoing shows that have not-so-coincidentally landed at the bottom of the genre’s rankings in households and in the bottom four for the key demographics thus far in the May sweeps period.
King World Productions’ “The Oprah Winfrey Show” continued as the top gabfest in households, females 18 to 49 and women 25 to 54, repeating this feat from last season. “Oprah’s” household rating of 5.9 this week was up 2 percent over its performance last week but down 8 percent from the same period a year ago. The situation was similar among women 18 to 49, with “Oprah” earning a 3.7 rating so far this sweeps, again off 8 percent compared with 2000 numbers.
No. 2 among households was Buena Vista Television’s “Live With Regis and Kelly” with a 3.8 rating, a rise of 6 percent over the previous week. The series slips to fifth among women 18 to 49 with a 2.1 sweeps average but assumes second place among females 25 to 54 with a 2.1 rating. Last year the show ranked third, trailing “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” during the period. “Live’s” ratings for the week were up 3 percent compared with last year.
Studios USA pulled a one-two punch in the three and four spots with “The Jerry Springer Show” and “Maury” each rising 6 percent to scores of 3.6 and 3.4, respectively. “Springer” was flat year to year, while “Maury” slid 8 percent from its numbers for 2000.
Breaking down the demos, the two talk shows are locked in a tie in the May book among females 18 to 49 for third place with a 2.1 score. “Springer,” however, takes the lead among women 25 to 54 with a 2.0 sweeps average, with “Maury” a tenth of a point behind.
Paramount Domestic Television’s “Montel Williams” was the only other show to gain ground in 2000 vs. 2001 weekly comparisons, nabbing a 3.0 rating for a rise of 7 percent. Overall in the sweeps, however, the series has decreased in both female demos, with scores of a 1.7 among women 18 to 49 and a 1.8 among women 25 to 54.
Warner Bros. Domestic Television’s “Rosie” took one of the biggest hits compared with last season despite a 7 percent rise for the week to a 3.0. Last year, the strip took second-place honors in households, but it has since declined 21 percent compared with the same week in 2000. The series has also fallen from second to fourth in both the women 18 to 49 and 25 to 54 demographics, averaging a 1.9 and a 2.0, respectively, during the sweep.
Columbia TriStar’s “Ricki Lake” grew 5 percent week to week to a 2.3 but was off 4 percent against 2000 comparisons. Among women 18 to 49, the strip is averaging a 1.6 rating.
Studios USA Domestic Television’s “Sally Jessy Raphael” came off a multiyear-low rating this week to rise 21 percent to a 2.3 in households. However, the series has suffered the most erosion in year-to-year comparisons, sliding 23 percent from last year. Demo ratings showed a similar story-the series is so far down 29 percent in women 18 to 49 with a 1.2 sweeps average.