Syndication Ratings: Court, news strips not snowed by Olympics

Mar 11, 2002  •  Post A Comment

As expected, the Olympics continued to drive down overall ratings for syndicated fare during the February sweeps. However, many programs held up better than some analysts expected, particularly court shows and newsmagazines.
For the sweeps period through Feb. 24, weekly series faced stiff competition from the NBC programming behemoth, facing either pre-emptions or competition as a result of the Olympics. Virtually all of the top series were down, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Once again taking top honors for weekly programming was Paramount Domestic Television’s weekend edition of “Entertainment Tonight” with a 3.8 rating, marking the fifth sweeps in a row the first-run series has won. Still, the program suffered a 21 percent ratings decline from the February 2001 book.
Taking second place was Tribune Entertainment’s sophomore action hit “Andromeda” at a 3.0, slipping 19 percent during the period and edging out MGM Television’s “Stargate SG-1” and Twentieth Television’s “The X-Files” for the silver. Those two series tied for third with a 2.8 score.
Within the rookie crop, Twentieth continued to score, taking three of the top four freshman spots as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” continued to draw eyeballs, finishing its first February book with a 2.6 rating. Tying for second place among rookies were Tribune’s action hour “Mutant X” and Twentieth’s “World’s Wildest Police Videos” at a 2.5. Off-network runs of “The Practice” were next with a 2.4 sweeps average in households.
Strips had better news as they wound down the sweeps, with court shows and newsmagazines enjoying a Presidents Day that boosted numbers for the week in both genres. None of the court shows slipped in the ratings, while the top five all showed gains during the time frame.
Paramount’s “Judge Judy” continued to lead the pack at a 5.8, a rise of 4 percent for the week. Fellow Paramount strip “Judge Joe Brown” took second place with a 6 percent rise to a 3.5, edging out Twentieth’s “Divorce Court,” which earned a 3.1 for a rise of 11 percent to equal the program’s season high.
Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution’s “Judge Greg Mathis” continued to grow with a 4 percent boost to a 2.5, while freshman strip “Texas Justice” continued to rule all first-run freshman shows so far this season with an 11 percent jump to a 2.1 for distributor Twentieth.
Among newsmagazines, none of the strips showed declines, with fourth-place “Extra” showing the biggest gain, up 8 percent to a 2.6.
Leading the pack was “Entertainment Tonight” at a 6.1, up 7 percent, followed by King World Productions’ “Inside Edition” at a 3.4 for a 3 percent jump. NBC Enterprises’ “Access Hollywood” was even for the week at a 2.8.