Syndication Ratings: ‘Dr. Phil’ leads rookie talk show surge

Oct 7, 2002  •  Post A Comment

What looks to be the “Dr. Phil” juggernaut officially got under way as national numbers for the week ending Sept. 22 placed the talk show strip in ninth place on its first national report card, according to Nielsen Media Research. However, several intriguing battles for the season are already shaping up among other new syndicated series.
“Dr. Phil” earned a 4.4 rating for it debut week, besting even “The Oprah Winfrey Show’s” 3.2 series debut in June 1996 for King World. The rating was good enough to earn second-place honors among all of this season’s series in the talk show genre, behind only “Oprah’s” 6.0 season debut.
Second place among rookie talk shows was a draw between Telepictures’ “Caroline Rhea” and NBC Enterprises’ “The John Walsh Show.” Both series earned a 1.1 average, with “Rhea” up 10 percent to a 1.1 in its third week, while “Walsh” ran even in its second week on the air. Twentieth’s “The Rob Nelson Show” and Tribune’s “Beyond With James Van Praagh” scored a 0.9 rating nationally. Of the four rookies, “Caroline” earned the highest rating among adults 18 to 49 with a 0.6 rating, while the other three series tied with a 0.5 in the demographic.
Two game shows earned their first national ratings of the season, with Buena Vista’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’s” taking a 2.4 average for its first week, the best since “Hollywood Squares” debuted to a 3.7 in September 1998. Sony’s “Pyramid” debuted with a 1.7 score.
Among the other reality rookies Telepictures’ “Celebrity Justice” was up 8 percent to a 1.3 in its third week, and Paramount’s “Life Moments” rose 13 percent to a 0.9 in its sophomore week.
Among off-network rookie strips, “That ’70s Show” came out with a 3.3 average for Carsey-Werner-Mandabach, behind “Friends,” “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “Seinfeld.” Twentieth’s “The Hughley’s” opened to a 1.3 rating.
Among weekly fare, the off-cable run of Sony’s “The Larry Sanders Show” grew 31 percent to a 1.7 in its second week. Western’s “StarHunter” grew from week one with a 125-percent jump from a 0.4 to a 0.9. NBC Enterprises’ “Chris Matthews Show” opened with a 1.0.