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Ratings Race Stays Hot

Mar 17, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Cold winds and ice charged the syndicated ratings race as increased HUT levels boosted a slew of series.
During the February sweeps, which ran from Jan. 30 through Feb. 26, daytime series enjoyed a 6 percent increase in HUT levels vs. last year and virtually all the genres turned in solid performances, according to Nielsen Media Research.
The top two rookie series among both the game shows and the talk shows surged ahead as they solidified their status for their sophomore seasons. Buena Vista’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire had the biggest improvement of any rookie during the sweep, rising 46 percent over its September debut to a 3.5 average for the book. Sony’s Pyramid was also buoyed by the cold weather and rose 18 percent to a 2.0 average.
Among rookie talk shows, King World kingpin Dr. Phil continued to rule the roost, improving 25 percent over its debut to a 5.5 sweeps average. NBC Enterprises’ John Walsh Show bested its debut numbers with a 36 percent hike to a 1.5 average.
Among the veteran talk shows, the top three in the category were the only series to improve. King World’s Oprah jumped 16 percent sweep-to-sweep to a 6.7 average. Buena Vista’s Live with Regis and Kelly grew 8 percent to a 4.2 score while Universal’s Maury rose 6 percent to a 3.6 average.
Court shows remained mostly higher in year-to-year comparisons although genre leader Judge Judy dipped 5 percent vs. February 2002 to a 5.6 average for distributor Paramount.
Paramount’s Judge Joe Brown rose 3 percent to a 3.7 while Twentieth’s duo of Divorce Court (up 10 percent) and Texas Justice (up 19 percent) both saw double-digit gains to scores of 3.2 and 2.5, respectively.
Telepictures’ People’s Court rose 10 percent to a 2.3 while the distributor’s Judge Greg Mathis blossomed 29 percent to a 2.2 sweeps average thanks in part to its shift from an hour to a half-hour. Sony’s Judge Hatchett was down 10 percent to a 1.8.