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Strips Have the Blahs as Sweeps Approach

May 9, 2005  •  Post A Comment

On the eve of the May sweeps, syndicated fare scored mostly lackluster ratings for the week ended April 24, due to pre-emptions from the papal conclave on Monday and Tuesday of that week and a raft of repeats.

The top-rated show in syndication, King World’s “Wheel of Fortune,” hit a season low with an 8.1 household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. That was down 2 percent from the previous week and down 1 percent from the same week a year ago. Sister program “Jeopardy!” which has been a consistent second-place finisher, dropped to third and tied its lowest rating for the season with a 6.9, a 3 percent drop from the previous week and down 1 percent from a year ago. King World’s “The Oprah Winfrey Show” eclipsed “Jeopardy!” with a 7.0, up 13 percent over the previous week, a 6 percent gain from a year ago.

“Oprah” wasn’t the only top talker to see growth. Its spinoff, “Dr. Phil,” was up 6 percent for the week and 2 percent for the year with a 5.2, while NBC Universal’s “Maury” grew 4 percent for the week to a 2.7, a 7 percent drop from last year. Buena Vista’s “Live With Regis and Kelly” was down for the week to a 3.2, a 9 percent drop from a year ago.

All six of the newsmagazine strips saw declines, with genre leader “Entertainment Tonight” from Paramount sliding to a 4.5, a 4 percent decline for the week and a 13 percent decline from last year. King World’s “Inside Edition” was down 6 percent for the week to a 3.1, a 9 percent drop from last year, while Paramount’s rookie strip “The Insider” declined 8 percent for the week to a 2.3. NBC Universal’s “Access Hollywood” declined 4 percent for the week to a 2.3, an 18 percent drop from last year. Warner Bros.’ “Extra” was down 5 percent for the week to a 2.1, a 13 percent decline from last year. Warner Bros.’ “Celebrity Justice” was down 10 percent for the week to a 0.9, a 31 percent drop over a year ago.

The top five off-network sitcom strips also were down, except for genre leader “Everybody Loves Raymond,” which was flat for the week and up 19 percent from last year. Sony’s “Seinfeld” dipped to a 5.4, down 4 percent for the week and 8 percent for the year. Warner Bros.’ Friends” dropped 2 percent for the week to a 5.0, a 9 percent decline from last year. Twentieth Television’s “King of the Hill” was off 3 percent for the week and 9 percent for the year to a 2.9, tying Twentieth’s “That ’70s Show,” which was also down 3 percent for the week but down 19 percent from last year.

Courtroom shows held up fairly well, with Paramount’s “Judge Judy” even for the week with a 4.7, a 2 percent dip from last year. Paramount’s “Judge Joe Brown” was up 3 percent for the week to a 3.2, an 11 percent decline from last year. Twentieth’s “Divorce Court” was up 4 percent for the week to a 2.8, a 12 percent increase over a year ago.

The top-rated weekly off-network one-hour once again was King World’s rookie “CSI,” which grew 2 percent for the week to a 5.1. The top weekly off-net half-hour was the “Seinfeld” weekend run, which was up 12 percent for the week to a 5.8. a 3 percent decline from last year.

The top-rated first-run weekly hour was the weekend edition of “Entertainment Tonight,” which was down 7 percent for the week and 13 percent for the year to a 2.7. The top weekly half-hour was the weekend run of “Wheel of Fortune,” which grew 14 percent for the week to a 4.2, a 5 percent decline from last year.