Sweeps Kickoff Buoys Newsmags, Weeklies

Feb 23, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Among the syndicated masses, newsmagazines, “Dr. Phil,” and weekly hours benefited from the February sweeps kickoff, according to Nielsen Media Research for the week ending Feb. 8.
The Janet Jackson Super Bowl controversy on Feb. 1 propelled three newsmagazines to season highs. Paramount’s “Entertainment Tonight” soared 8 percent to a new season high of 6.9 for the week, topped by a 7.5 on Monday, Feb. 2, for a Super Bowl recap. King World’s red-hot “Inside Edition” took its best numbers in six years as the newsmagazine continued to climb, jumping 10 percent for the week to a 4.5. The Monday episode scored a 4.6.
Third place went to NBC’s “Access Hollywood,” which dipped 3 percent to a 3.4 coming off of its season high the previous week. Its Super Bowl wrap-up nabbed a 3.9 that Monday. Telepictures’ “Extra” scored a season-best 3.1 for the week, rising 3 percent.
Among daytime strips, only King World’s “Dr. Phil” showed growth compared with the previous week. The strip has grown three weeks in a row and is up 10 percent during that period. The series climbed 2 percent this week to a 5.6.
Helping “Dr. Phil” during the sweeps have been its time slot upgrades in a number of markets. Doing particularly well are the markets where the King World strip replaced 5 p.m. news programs. At the halfway point of the sweeps, “Dr. Phil” is up in all three markets where it replaced a 5 p.m. news program.
On Philadelphia’s KYW-TV, the strip has averaged a 7.6 rating/14 share so far in the sweeps. That marks an increase of 111 percent over year-ago numbers for the newscast, which averaged a 3.6/6. In Atlanta on WXIA-TV, “Phil” is earning a 7.0/13, up 89 percent over the previous February’s newscast average of 3.7/7. On Tampa’s WTSP-TV, ratings have gone from a 3.0/6 to an 8.7/17, a rise of 190 percent.
Meanwhile, for the first weekend of the sweeps, Paramount’s “Entertainment Tonight” weekend edition got a flying start with a 4.7 national rating, scoring a new high for the season. The number is up 4 percent for the week and 15 percent year to year.
Tied for second place were Warner Bros.’ “The West Wing” and MGM’s “Stargate SG-1” at a 2.3. “West Wing” in its freshman year was unchanged for the week, while “Stargate” slipped 8 percent for the week and 8 percent from last year.
Right behind them were Warner Bros.’ “ER” at a 2.2, unchanged in both week-to-week and year-to-year comparisons, and MGM’s “She Spies” at a 2.1.