A Blizzard of Viewers

Mar 10, 2003  •  Post A Comment

The one-two punch provided by a national holiday and a blizzard in the Northeast proved a boon for syndicated series during the third full week of sweeps, according to Nielsen Media Research. A slew of series reached or matched season highs. Meanwhile, weekly hours wrapped up their February sweeps runs during the week, which ended Feb. 23.
The holiday and snowstorm boosted HUT levels to unusual ranges, helping propel a number of daytime shows to season highs. Two rookie strips earned series highs outright while another three matched their personal bests. King World’s Dr. Phil led the pack with a 14 percent spike to a best-ever 5.8 household rating.
Buena Vista’s syndie run of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire had its first million-dollar winner, boosting the weekly average to a series-high 3.7 rating. The million-dollar broadcast Feb. 18 drew an impressive 4.5 rating.
Matching series highs during the week were Sony’s Pyramid, which climbed 5 percent to a 2.1, NBC’s The John Walsh Show, scratching its way to a 1.6, up 7 percent, and Telepictures’ Celebrity Justice, which climbed 8 percent for the week to a 1.4.
Among veteran series, six syndicated staples set or matched season bests. Wheel of Fortune continued to lead the way with a 6 percent hike to a 10.6. Fellow King World series Jeopardy! was up 5 percent to a season-best 8.3.
Among talk shows, King World’s Oprah Winfrey Show grew 9 percent to a season-high 7.4, Buena Vista’s Live With Regis and Kelly rose 7 percent to a 4.6, a high for the season. Universal’s Maury also hit a season high, up 15 percent to a 3.8. Among newsmagazines, Paramount’s Entertainment Tonight equaled its season high of 6.9, an 8 percent jump.
Among weekly series that wrapped up their February sweeps race, Entertainment Tonight weekend edition was in front with a sweeps average of 4.0. That score is up 5 percent in households from the sweeps book a year ago, and the show was up as well among adults 18 to 49, where it jumped 25 percent year to year to a 2.0.
Among newcomers, Tribune’s Adventure Inc. finished first with a 2.1 average and a 1.2 in the adults 18 to 49 demo and NBC’s She Spies earned a 1.9 household rating and a 1.1 in the demo.