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Syndication Ratings: Nation springs forward as strips fall back

Apr 29, 2002  •  Post A Comment

The extra hour of light provided by daylight-saving time spelled trouble for a number of strips for the week ending April 14, according to Nielsen Media Research. On the other hand, weekend fare-after assorted pre-emptions and faced with the first “normal” week in more than a month-basked in the sunlight.
Among the top 10 weekly hours, Paramount Domestic Television’s “Entertainment Tonight” weekend edition again took first-place honors, rising 30 percent to a 4.3 rating and scoring a 16 percent year-to-year rise in households.
Twentieth Television brought in the next three series, all off-net. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “The Practice” duked it out for third, while “The X-Files” was the second-place winner,” scoring a 2.7, but was off 4 percent for the week. It was the only top 10 weekly hour to show a decline. “Buffy” and “The Practice” tied at a 2.6 rating, with “Buffy” up 17 percent and “The Practice” rising 4 percent.
Next up was MGM’s “Stargate SG-1,” which experienced a 4 percent bump to take fifth place overall with a 2.5, edging out contenders “ER” at a 2.3 and Tribune’s “Mutant X” at a 2.2. Twentieth’s “World’s Wildest” rose 10 percent to a 2.2 score, beating out 10th-place finisher “VIP” at a 2.1, up 17 percent.
Game shows took a hit with the time change, with all either down or flat. “Wheel of Fortune” was off 8 percent to an 8.9, while “Jeopardy!” dipped 11 percent to a 7.3. Fellow King World Productions strip “Hollywood Squares” finished the week down 14 percent to a 2.5, but was still comfortably ahead of Tribune’s “Family Feud” at a 1.9 and Telepictures Distribution’s “Street Smarts” at a 1.5.
Rookie challenger “The Weakest Link,” from NBC Enterprises, finished the week even with a 1.9 rating, yet that score puts the series alone in second place among all rookie first-run strips for the first time ever. The series edged Studios USA’s “Crossing Over With John Edward,” which dropped to a 1.7 rating, breaking last week’s second-place tie.
Still in first place, though barely, is Twentieth’s “Texas Justice” with a 2.0 rating, a drop of 5 percent for the week.
In the talk show genre, the outgoing “Sally Jessy Raphael” was the only talk show to post gains for the week. The strip averaged a 1.6, up 7 percent. Dropping the most for the period was King World’s “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” which slid 13 percent to a 5.4.