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Syndication Ratings: Not just Levy boosting shows

Jul 30, 2001  •  Post A Comment

For all the talk about network news coverage of the disappearance of Chandra Levy, it may be the syndicated newsmagazines that have capitalized the most.
Ratings for access programs covering the scandal skyrocketed by double-digit percentages that were bolstered by the return of normal viewer habits following a low-rated fourth of July period, according to Nielsen Media Research.
For the week ending July 15, “Entertainment Tonight” continued to lead the pack with a 5.6 household rating, up 14 percent from the previous week-marking the Paramount Domestic Television strip’s fifth straight year atop the genre. The series jumped seven-tenths of a point in women 18 to 34 and 18 to 49. Indeed, women were behind the bulk of the ratings rise, as the women 25 to 54 score also was up almost a full point, whereas men in all three age categories were up by no more than three-tenths of a point.
King World Productions’ “Inside Edition” took second place with a 15 percent rise in households to a 3.0. The series found the most growth within the women 25 to 54 demo, with a jump of three-tenths of a point to a 1.8. It ranked second in all three female categories.
Among males, however, Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution’s “Extra” took the silver, climbing two-tenths of a point to a 0.8 among men 18 to 49 and increasing a tenth of a point in the other male categories. In households, the strip was up 27 percent from the previous week to a 2.8.
Benefiting from the increase in access viewers, NBC’s “Access Hollywood,” which did not cover the Levy story, saw a 35 percent jump to a 2.3. The strip tied both “Extra” and “Inside Edition” among females 18 to 34 with a 1.2, up almost half a point for “Access,” and came in third in the other two female demos.
By comparison, in January 1998, after President Clinton’s firm denial during a Jan. 26 press conference that he was ever intimate with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, ratings for the shows were unable to achieve double-digit increases.
Other access series also enjoyed a ballooning effect, as “Friends” came off its lowest rating ever with a 14 percent climb to a 5.0 household score. “Frasier” rose 5 percent to a 4.4, “Seinfeld” was up 11 percent to a 4.2-also coming off an all-time low-“3rd Rock” was up 19 percent to a 3.2, and “The Drew Carey Show” grew 12 percent to a 2.9 rating.
Among game shows, King World’s tandem of “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy!” saw double-digit increases with 11 percent and 12 percent rises, respectively, to 8.3 and 7.4 scores. “Hollywood Squares” rose 23 percent to a 3.2, regaining some recently lost ground, while Pearson Television’s “Family Feud” was up 17 percent with a 2.7.