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Syndication Ratings: Ratings dip for syndie vets

Jun 11, 2001  •  Post A Comment

The May ratings swoon continued to wear down syndicators last week as virtually all syndicated programs took hits from declining HUT levels while cable lured away other sets of eyeballs.
But that didn’t stop several series from making an impact during the May book (April 28-May 23) as veterans such as “Live With Regis & Kelly,” “Blind Date,” “Access Hollywood” and “Family Feud” garnered year-to-year growth in households.
More alarming than the general drop in viewership, however, were a number of series’ ratings losses of more than 20 percent compared with the 2000 May sweeps, ranging from “People’s Court” to “Seinfeld” to “Sally Jessy Raphael.”
Off-net series took the brunt of the hit, since no strip was able to post gains over the previous year. Paramount Domestic Television’s “Frasier” was the lone series to avoid losses, running flat for the year at a 4.9.
Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution’s “Friends” remained at the top of the heap with a 5.3, off 7 percent from last May but landing atop the genre once again. Last year’s runner-up, “Seinfeld,” continued to suffer from a move to the Chris-Craft Industries stations, falling to third place finish of 4.1, a slide of 24 percent.
Warner Bros.’ “The Drew Carey Show” had problems of its own in its off-net sophomore go with a 23 percent drop from its 4.1 May 2000 rating to a 3.0.
Next in line was Carsey-Werner-Mandabach’s “3rd Rock From the Sun,” which finished down 12 percent to a 2.9 rating.
Switching to daytime court shows, series were down across the board, since the number of strips in the genre increased from six last year to 11 this year. The result was lower ratings across the board, with cancellation casualties in the mix.
Paramount’s Domestic Television’s “Judge Judy” and “Judge Joe Brown” continued to lead the charge despite drops of 12 percent and 11 percent, respectively, from the May 2000 book. “Judy” finished the sweeps period with a 5.7 average, while “Brown” took home a 3.3 rating.
Twentieth Television’s “Divorce Court” was off 10 percent at a 2.6, compared with fourth-place-finishing “Judge Greg Mathis” at a 2.0, down 9 percent.
The two remaining veterans, “People’s Court” and “Judge Mills Lane,” fell heavily, placing below newcomers “Power of Attorney” and “Judge Hatchett’s” 1.9 tie. “People’s Court” saw a 25 percent decline to a 1.8 rating, while “Mills Lane” took a 30 percent hit to a 1.4.
Among talk shows, only three of the 11 strips avoided year-to-year losses, with one of the winners going on the cancellation block.
“Oprah” was off 8 percent for King World Productions but still managed a 5.9 rating to best second-place finisher “Live With Regis & Kelly” from Buena Vista Television at a 3.7. “Live!” was up 3 percent year to year with its new co-host.
Studios USA Domestic Television’s “Jerry Springer” took third place at a 3.5, besting fellow Studios USA series “The Maury Povich Show” at a 3.3. Both series were off 8 percent year to year.
Paramount’s “Montel Williams” broke even with last year’s rating of 3.0 and pulled ahead of Warner Bros.] “Rosie O’Donnell” in the rankings. “Rosie” took a 22 percent hit to finish the sweeps with a 2.2 average.
Columbia TriStar Television Distribution’s “Ricki Lake” was next up at a 2.3, slipping 8 percent for the year but still beating the declining “Sally Jessy Raphael’s” 2.1, off 28 percent for the year.
“Jenny Jones” and “Martha Stewart Living” rounded up the cast of veterans heading for another season as “Jenny” took in a 2.0 rating, down 13 percent, while “Martha Stewart” slid 7 percent to a 1.4.
Magazines finished as one of the stronger genres, with Paramount’s “Entertainment Tonight” on top with a 5.7, down 3 percent since May 2000. “Extra” took second place with a 3.1, off 6 percent, but King World’s “Inside Edition” and Warner Bros.’ “Access Hollywood” both gained 4 percent with ratings of 2.9 and 2.4, respectively.
In the relationship series genre, Universal’s “Blind Date” took the crown with a 2.1 and a rise of 11 percent over last year’s scores. “Change of Heart” followed at a 1.8, off 14 percent.