Syndication Ratings: Series racking up viewers by the gross

Jun 18, 2001  •  Post A Comment

The negative picture of syndicated series painted earlier this season may not be as dreary as originally expected.
Sharp declines in household average audience numbers last week showed steep declines in ratings for a number of shows. But ad-driven gross average audience scores (ratings specially ordered when one or more markets air repeat telecasts and include viewers for each airing) have illustrated a much more mellow market. The GAA spiked the ratings of a slew of series, topped by “Judge Judy” as the fresh television season comes to an end.
In year-to-year comparisons for the latest May sweeps period vs. 2000, the GAA ratings picture reveals that most syndicated series held up well for the book.
Among rookies, Twentieth Television’s “Power of Attorney” broke its dead heat with fellow court show “Judge Hatchett,” both earning a 1.9 AA rating to lead all freshmen strips in household GAA ratings with a 2.4, up a full half-point. Columbia TriStar Television Distribution’s “Hatchett” grew four-tenths of a point to a 2.3 GAA rating.
Telepictures Distribution’s returning “Street Smarts,” pulling a 1.7 in AA ratings for the May book, broke the 2.0 mark using GAA numbers. All three series will return next season.
Among talk shows, Studios USA Domestic Television’s “Jerry Springer” fared the best under the GAA umbrella and pulled ahead of “Live With Regis & Kelly” (which doesn’t factor in GAA numbers) for second place at a 3.9, up four-tenths of a point. “Live” remains at a 3.7, still up 3 percent over May 2000.
Still taking the biggest bumps, however, were Studios USA’s “Sally Jessy Raphael” and Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution’s “The Rosie O’Donnell Show,” the only talk shows to slide more than 20 percent year to year. “Rosie” slipped 24 percent to a 2.9 GAA, while “Sally” fared worse with a 39 percent drop to a 2.2.
Veteran court shows were all still down under the GAA fold, but most took moderate bumps. In fact, the top four shows all showed declines within 5 percent of each other. Paramount Domestic Television’s “Judge Judy” still ruled the roost at an 8.3, a huge leap of 2.6 points over its 5.9 AA score but was off 8 percent from last year.
“Judge Joe Brown” and “Divorce Court” had their own boosts in points. Paramount’s “Brown” slipped 10 percent from last year but gained a full point from its AA score to a 4.3. Twentieth’s “Divorce Court” gained eight-tenths of point to a 3.4 under the same banner.
Series unable to hold up, even with the added eyeballs, were the now-canceled “Judge Mills Lane” at a 1.6, down 38 percent, while “The People’s Court” fell 25 percent to a 1.8.
Making the biggest leaps in the game and relationship genre was Pearson’s “Family Feud” at a 3.0, a rise of half a point over its AA rating and up 7 percent for the year. Universal’s “Blind Date” fared almost as well with a jump of 0.4 to a 2.5 rating.
Off-net sitcoms found rises of 0.8 for both “Friends” and “Frasier,” with “Friends” again on top overall. “Friends” finished the sweeps with a 6.1 GAA rating while “Frasier” was one of the few vets to gain ground with a 4 percent rise year to year to a 5.7.