Syndication Ratings: Off-network series and court shows surge

Nov 12, 2001  •  Post A Comment

The race for viewers before the all-important November book got off to an early start for syndicators as 10 series saw double-digit ratings spikes in the final week before sweeps. However, shows still fine-tuning their product-particularly in the talk genre-may be discovering that the changes are too little, too late.
Twentieth Television’s three weekly off-network hours were all glowing, according to Nielsen Media Research for the week ending Oct. 28. Rookie series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “The Practice” gained momentum, moving up 32 percent and 25 percent, respectively, to household ratings of 2.5 and 3.1. Another Twentieth hit, “The X-Files,” surged 20 percent to a tie for fourth place with a 3.0.
MGM Television’s “Stargate SG-1” got its own treat for the week, rising 19 percent to a 3.1. Tribune’s dynamic duo of “Mutant X” and “Andromeda” both slipped 7 percent to 2.8 ratings.
Among the off-network sitcoms, “King of the Hill,” “Seinfeld” and “Frasier” all found boasting material. Columbia TriStar Television Distribution’s “Seinfeld” led the genre with a 6.1, up 17 percent, edging “Friends”’ 5.7 rating. Paramount Domestic Television’s “Frasier” revived itself in time for the book, growing 13 percent to a 3.4.
Twentieth’s rookie “King of the Hill” gained some ground with the highest jump in the field, 33 percent, rising to a 2.4 score.
The top three court shows continued their hold on the genre, each jumping by double digits as Paramount’s “Judge Judy” again led the pack with a 5.4 average, up 10 percent. Paramount’s “Judge Joe Brown” took second-place honors with a 14 percent climb to a 3.2, and Twentieth’s “Divorce Court” rose 13 percent to take the bronze with a 2.6.
Talk shows have taken much of the spotlight throughout the season, with a slew of new contenders entering the fray-only to discover a rough road ahead. Eight of the 15 talk shows finished the week even, with King World Productions’ “Oprah” again leading the way with a 7 percent climb to a 6.4 rating.
Two series that debuted this season, Buena Vista Television’s “Iyanla” and King World’s “Ananda,” appear to have stopped earlier bleeding in the ratings, holding steady in recent weeks. Both have undergone format changes since premiering, yet neither has managed to regain its debut rating. “Iyanla” finished the week with a 1.1, off 8 percent from its debut. “Ananda” is 17 percent below its debut number with a 1.0 rating. The current top rookie talk show remains Studios USA’s “Crossing Over With John Edward” at a 1.8, although 0.4 of that rating comes from its runs on Sci-Fi Channel.