New entries tighten first-run race: What was once a one-man race for the crown of top new first-run strip in syndication suddenly tightened up with the entry of Twentieth Television’s “Texas Justice” and NBC Enterprises’ “The Weakest Link,” according to results from Nielsen Media Research for the week ending Jan. 13. Both shows debuted nationally on Jan. 7 and sought to supplant current leader “Crossing Over With John Edward” from Studios USA Domestic Television. Scores show that “Justice” and “Crossing Over” finished tied at a 2.0 household score, with “Crossing Over” airing in 98 percent of the country, while “Justice” now broadcasts in 89 percent. “Weakest Link” finished in third place among the freshmen with a 1.8 rating, airing in 77 percent of the country. Among the demos, the race remains up for grabs as well, with the 18 to 34 crown again divided between “Justice” and “Crossing” at a 0.8 rating, with “Link” right behind at a 0.7. Among adults 18 to 49, “Crossing” remains in front with a 1.1, while “Justice” scored a 1.0, and “Link” pulled a 0.8 rating.
`Hatchett’ gets third season: Columbia TriStar Domestic Television’s court show strip “Judge Hatchett” has been signed for a third season. The series has been renewed on all the Fox owned-and-operated stations that currently carry the show and is now confirmed in 19 of the top 20 markets, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. The series will shift from cash-plus-barter to a 7-7 split with double runs set on all its stations.
Paramount renews `Hot Ticket,’ picks up clearances for `Moments’: Paramount has renewed weekly series “Hot Ticket” on all the CBS O&Os. It is now renewed in 60 percent of the country and in all top 10 markets. The distributor also expanded upcoming strip “Life Moments” to 60 percent of the country, including KIRO-TV in Seattle and KSTP-TV in Minneapolis. In addition, reality hour “Maximum Exposure” was renewed for year three in more than 75 percent of the country in over 100 markets.
`Crossing Over’ graduates to sophomore season: Studios USA has bucked recent fledgling talk show trends with “Crossing Over With John Edward” now renewed for a second season in 65 percent of the country, including 20 of the top 30 markets. “Certainly it’s been gratifying for us to see so many stations that have committed to `Crossing Over’ rewarded with strong ratings and continued growth,” said Studios USA Domestic Television President Steve Rosenberg. “It should not be a surprise that this show will be returning for a second season or that it is tracking to become a major franchise for years to come.”
Tribune gives `Mutant X,’ `City Guys’ a go: Tribune has renewed action hour “Mutant X” and half-hour off-network comedy strip “City Guys” for their sophomore seasons, with “Mutant X” cleared in 93 percent of the country, while “City Guys” stands at 92 percent national clearance. In addition to the Tribune Station Group, stations clearing “Mutant X” include KBWB-TV, San Francisco; WDWB-TV, Detroit; and KDNL-TV, St. Louis. “City Guys” has been cleared on the Tribune group as well as KMWB-TV, Minneapolis; WBNX-TV, Cleveland; and WJZY-TV, Charlotte, N.C.