The end of the February sweeps on March 3 offered good news for talk shows in the overnight metered markets, with the top tier showing gains off lead-in or against year-ago time slot averages.
According to Nielsen Media Research for the February book, which ran from Feb. 5 through March 3, the top talk shows came out of the metered markets on fire. King World’s “The Oprah Winfrey Show” led the pack with a 7.7 household rating average and an 18 share, marking a 51 percent jump from its lead-in and a rise of 10 percent from last year’s time period numbers.
Fellow King World series “Dr. Phil” marked its best sweep ever, averaging a 6.2/15, up 82 percent over its lead-in and up 9 percent from its February 2003 time period. “Dr. Phil” scored the most dramatic lead-in improvement of a talk show.
Buena Vista’s “Live With Regis and Kelly” took third place, pulling a 4.8/15 for the sweeps. That score was up 7 percent from its lead-in but was down a modest 2 percent from last February’s much-hyped Kelly Ripa pregnancy. In addition, the series took first place in nine of the top 10 markets.
Universal’s veteran “Maury” and Telepictures’ rookie “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” landed in a fourth-place tie at a 3.0/8. “Maury” was up 20 percent from its lead-in and up 3 percent vs. year-ago scores in the time slot. Meanwhile, freshman hit “Ellen” banked 20 percent growth over lead-ins and was up 36 percent over year-ago numbers.
In sixth place, Paramount’s “Montel Williams” hit a 2.5/7, running even with lead-in averages and down 4 percent from February 2003 time periods. Universal’s “Jerry Springer” averaged a 2.2/7 score for the book, up 10 percent from lead-in and even with its year-ago time period average.
Meanwhile, three celebrity-interview-driven newsmagazines all saw double-digit increases March 1, in post-Oscar wrap-ups. Paramount’s “Entertainment Tonight” earned a 7.4/12 in the metered markets March 1, up 19 percent from the previous Monday; NBC Enterprises saw “Access Hollywood” average a 4.2/8, up 11 percent vs. the previous week; and Telepictures’ “Extra” scored a 3.9/8 share for its Academy Award coverage, up 18 percent from the previous Monday.