Syndication Ratings: And the verdict is … bigger sweeps numbers

Jun 10, 2002  •  Post A Comment

The final May sweeps tallies confirmed that gavel-to-gavel coverage in daytime equals ratings.
Only one court show was down in daytime, bucking erosion trends throughout the industry. This year’s top rookie strip is also in the court genre, according to Nielsen Media research for the period of April 25 through May 22.
Court shows still have some room to grow after several series were canceled following the 2000-01 season, and only one new strip (Telco’s “We the Jury”) is set to debut this fall. Paramount Domestic Television’s “Judge Judy” continued to pave the way, leading the genre with a May sweeps average of 5.7 in households, easily taking the top spot and finishing even with last May’s scores.
Second place fell to Paramount’s “Judge Joe Brown” at a 3.4 average for a rise of 3 percent, followed by Twentieth Television’s “Divorce Court” at a 2.7, a gain of 4 percent. Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution’s twosome of “Judge Greg Mathis” and “The People’s Court” both earned double-digit gains for the distributor, with “Mathis” growing 15 percent year to year with a 2.3 while “People’s Court” gained 11 percent with a 2.0.
The sole series to lose ground over May sweeps was “Judge Hatchett” with a relatively minor 5 percent decline to a 1.8 average.
Among rookies, court shows stayed strong, with Twentieth’s “Texas Justice” besting the rest of the rookie crop with a 2.2 average. Second place among households fell to a tie between Universal’s “Crossing Over” and NBC Enterprises’ “Weakest Link” at 1.9 sweeps averages.
Looking at the key demos, however, the May rookie champion was “Elimidate” which earned the top spot among adults 18 to 34 with a 1.2 and adults 18 to 49 with a 1.0. Overall, “Elimidate” finished fourth in households among rookies with a 1.5 average.
With court shows climbing the charts, taking up more eyeballs and time periods, talk shows took the brunt of the backlash. Not one talk show gained year to year in households, and only one-Universal’s “Maury”-was even. “Maury” finished in its best position ever with a third-place 3.3, behind only Buena Vista Television’s “Live With Regis and Kelly” at a 3.5, off 5 percent for the sweeps, and King World Productions’ “Oprah” in the top spot with a 5.8, down 2 percent.
Like court shows, newsmagazines weathered the ratings storm well, with Paramount’s “Entertainment Tonight” tops at a 5.7, even with last May, King World’s “Inside Edition” up 3 percent year to year at a 3.0 and NBC’s “Access Hollywood” even at a 2.5. Only Warner Bros.’ “Extra” was down for the period, falling 19 percent to tie “Access” at a 2.5.
Among weeklies, Paramount’s rookie series “Hot Ticket” found its way past Buena Vista’s “Ebert & Roeper” for the first time ever for the most recent week of the Nielsen ratings, earning a 1.9 to “Ebert’s” 1.8 for the week ending May 26. In the sweeps comparison, however, “Ebert” ruled with a 2.2, compared with “Ticket’s” 1.6.