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O’Brien Sparks ‘Insider’ Surge

May 23, 2005  •  Post A Comment

The return of “The Insider” host Pat O’Brien gave the tabloid newsmagazine its highest weekly rating in three months, bucking an overall downward trend for daytime syndication, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Mr. O’Brien returned to the Paramount show following a stint in alcohol rehab and a prime-time sit-down interview with “Dr. Phil’s” Phil McGraw, who confronted the host about his addictions and behavior.

The ratings period from April 28 to May 5 was the first full week of May sweeps. Though Mr. O’Brien returned Thursday, May 5, his appearance was enough to boost “The Insider” to a 2.8 Nielsen household rating, its best weekly performance since Feb. 28. “The Insider” spike was particularly strong among women 18 to 49; in that demographic the show scored the second-highest rating in its history.

Still, “The Insider” took only the third spot among magazine shows, failing to best competitors Paramount’s “Entertainment Tonight” (5.0) and King World’s “Inside Edition” (3.3), both unchanged from the previous week.

Sources said Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution’s sixth-place tabloid “Celebrity Justice” has been canceled. The series, which debuted in 2003, was down 17 percent from last year. A Warner Bros. spokesperson had no comment.

For other syndicated categories the week was gloomy.

All game shows and courtroom series were flat or down. The major off-network sitcoms-King World’s “Everybody Loves Raymond,” Sony Pictures Television’s “Seinfeld” and Warner Bros.’ “Friends”-were rated lower than in the previous week.

Of the 13 talk shows, only three gained from the previous week: King World’s first-place “The Oprah Winfrey Show” (up 8 percent to an 8.0); Buena Vista’s third-place “Live With Regis and Kelly” (up 3 percent to a 3.6); and Warner Bros.’ fourth-place “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” (up 10 percent to a 2.2). King World’s second-place “Dr. Phil” was down 4 percent to a 5.5.