Some Series See Sweeps Spikes

Mar 22, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Ratings for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “Dr. Phil” and “Access Hollywood” indicated these strips were among the few syndicated series to spike year to year during the recently concluded February sweeps, when syndication viewing audiences overall dipped 3 percent, according to Nielsen.
Off-network strips took some of the biggest hits. Only “That ’70s Show” managed to shine.
Among rookies, Telepictures’ “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” remained the standout performer, finishing the sweeps with a 2.1 household rating average, up 31 percent from the November sweeps. Second place went to “Sharon Osbourne” at a 1.2, down 20 percent from the November book.
Right behind was a three-way tie for third among Twentieth’s “On-Air With Ryan Seacrest,” NBC Enterprises’ “Starting Over” and King World’s “Living It Up! With Ali & Jack,” all of which earned a 1.1 average. “On-Air” was up 10 percent from its debut in January, while “Living” and “Starting Over” were both up 10 percent from November.
Among the established talk shows, King World’s “Oprah Winfrey” had a 7.8 average and was up 16 percent over February 2003 results. “Dr. Phil” jumped 4 percent from last year with a 5.7 average. Buena Vista’s “Live With Regis and Kelly” took third place at a 4.1 and was down a modest 2 percent over last year, when Kelly Ripa’s pregnancy was much-hyped. But the series took home its best sweeps in eight years among women 25 to 54 with an 8 percent rise to a 2.8.
Other veteran talk show action found Universal’s “Maury” down 8 percent to a 3.3 in households, Paramount’s “Montel Williams” off 4 percent to a 2.7, Universal’s “Jerry Springer” sliding 11 percent to a 2.4, and Sony’s “Ricki Lake” down 28 percent to a 1.3.
Among court shows, three of the strips gained ground over year-ago numbers, with Telepictures’ “Judge Greg Mathis” rising 9 percent to a 2.4, “The People’s Court” up 4 percent to a 2.4, and Sony’s “Judge Hatchett” up 11 percent to a 2.0.
In access, off-net sitcoms had a rough go, with seven of the top nine down by double digits over February 2003. On top of the pack was Sony’s “Seinfeld” with a 6.6 household average, down 13 percent, Warner Bros.’ “Friends” in second with a 6.3, down 18 percent, and King World’s “Everybody Loves Raymond” off 14 percent at a 5.7.
Bucking that trend was Carsey-Werner-Mandabach’s “That ’70s Show,” which took sole possession of fourth place at a 4.1, up 5 percent year to year. Warner Bros.’ “Will & Grace” fell 19 percent to a 3.5, Twentieth’s “King of the Hill” tumbled 11 percent to a 3.3, Buena Vista’s “Home Improvement” was off 6 percent to a 3.2, Paramount’s “Frasier” fell 20 percent to a 2.4, and Twentieth’s “Dharma & Greg” slid 26 percent to a 2.0.
Among game shows, only two strips showed year-to-year growth, with Buena Vista’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” growing 11 percent to a 3.9, for its best sweeps ever. Tribune’s “Family Feud” was up 21 percent to a 2.3.
In newsmagazines King World’s “Inside Edition” and “Access Hollywood’ both improved over February 2003 results. “Inside Edition” rose 5 percent to a 3.9, while “Access” jumped 7 percent to a 3.2.