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Scrappy Start to May Sweeps

May 12, 2003  •  Post A Comment

When May sweeps began for syndication players, what had been a tight two-way race in the off-net category officially became a three-way one, according to Nielsen Media Research for the week ending April 27.
Four days into the May book, the off-net genre saw King World’s Everybody Loves Raymond surge into second place, making for an interesting battle with perennial kingpins Friends and Seinfeld. Warner Bros.’ Friends and Sony’s Seinfeld, both boosted by additional telecasts on TBS, had been duking it out throughout the season for bragging rights to top spot among off-net sitcoms.
Raymond’s 10 percent surge to a 6.4 was good for second place behind Friends (which rose 10 percent to a 6.6 to regain first place) and ahead of Seinfeld, which was unchanged at a 6.3 for the week, marking the first time in six months that Seinfeld did not finish in the top two.
Among talk shows, the return of Kelly Ripa after a two-month maternity leave spiked ratings for Buena Vista’s Live With Regis and Kelly. The strip had the biggest increase of any show in its genre, up 28 percent to a 4.1 score. That represents a 17 percent improvement over last year’s numbers. In all, only one talk show lost ground for the week as Telepictures’ Jenny Jones slid 11 percent to a 1.6.
King World’s talk genre leader The Oprah Winfrey Show was up 18 percent to a 5.9, and the distributor’s rookie hit Dr. Phil climbed 7 percent to a 4.8. Universal’s Maury grew 3 percent to a 3.2, and fellow Universal series Jerry Springer was up 9 percent to a 2.4. NBC’s The John Walsh Show rose 17 percent to a 1.4, with Universal’s Crossing Over With John Edward posting a 9 percent gain to a 1.2. All other talk shows were even for the week.
In access, the top three game shows all experienced growth. King World’s Wheel of Fortune rose 10 percent to an 8.8 and Jeopardy! was up 8 percent to a 7.0. Buena Vista’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire grew 10 percent to a 3.2.
Among newsmagazines, Paramount’s Entertainment Tonight opened the sweep with a 6 percent rise to a 5.5, while King World’s Inside Edition grew 6 percent to a 3.3 and NBC’s Access Hollywood blossomed 8 percent to a 2.6. Telepictures’ Extra was unchanged at a 2.4.
Movie review shows: Buena Vista’s Ebert & Roeper & the Movies rose 12 percent to a 1.9, even with last year’s numbers.Paramount’s Hot Ticket grew 21 percent to a 1.7 and was up 42 percent over the same period last year.