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Syndication Ratings: Xmas kind to veteran talkers

Jan 14, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Christmas week brought presents for daytime players but left access shows lumps of coal. Talk shows and court shows built on their audiences, according to Nielsen Media Research for the week ending Dec. 30, as audiences stayed in from the winter chill.
Three veteran talk shows and two rookie strips scored season highs on the last full week of the year, with Studios USA Domestic Television’s “Maury” faring the best at a 3.6 household rating, up 13 percent from the previous week. Also enjoying ratings accolades was Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution’s “Rosie O’Donnell Show” with a 4 percent jump to a 2.7, while Studios USA’s “Sally Jessy Raphael” hit its best numbers of the season, climbing 12 percent to a 1.9.
Within the freshman crop, two shows also enjoyed their top performances since last season: King World Productions’ “Ananda” rose 17 percent to a 1.4 while NBC Enterprises’ “The Other Half” grew 18 percent to a 1.3.
Ironically, despite the blossoming scores for talk shows, the undisputed champion of the genre scored her worst performance ever. King World’s “Oprah” had its ratings nadir with an 8 percent slide to a 4.9 rating for the week, though the show is still tops within the genre.
In the court show ranks, none of the seven strips in the genre showed declines. The best showings came from Twentieth Television, whose “Divorce Court” scored a 17 percent bump for a 2.7 rating, while departing strip “Power of Attorney” tried to end its run on a high note with an 18 percent ratings increase to a 2.0 in its next-to-last week on the air.
Unfortunately, the warm, fuzzy holiday feelings didn’t carry over to the access time slots, where bowl games and holiday programming proved stiff competition, especially to off-net sitcoms.
Most of the off-net series fell by double digits from the previous week’s numbers, as Warner’s “Friends” stayed on top with a 5.8 despite sliding 16 percent for the week. Columbia TriStar Television Distribution’s “Seinfeld” landed in second place with a 5.5, off 15 percent for the period.
As to the weekly ranks, Twentieth’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” showed the most growth for a major series, rising 24 percent to a 2.6 rating.
Meanwhile, in other ratings news, two new strips debuted Jan. 7. The higher-profile of the two, NBC Enterprises’ “The Weakest Link,” averaged a 2.1/5 in the weighted metered market averages for its first four days. That score was down 25 percent from year-ago time period averages, but the show seemed to catch on in a number of markets where it was double run and/or in access. Among these was Phoenix, where it brought the time period up 167 percent with a 2.4/6 in the 4 p.m.-to-5 p.m. time slot.
The other debut, Twentieth’s “Texas Justice,” finished the four days with a 2.0 rating and a 6 share, 5 percent above year-ago time period averages.