‘Millionaire’ Continues to Gain Strength

Oct 31, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Four-year-old syndicated game show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” has continued its surprising ratings climb, enjoying a third consecutive week as the greatest year-to-year gainer among first-run strips.

The Buena Vista series was up a strong 21 percent to a 3.5 for the week ended Oct. 22, according to Nielsen Media Research. The gain is likely due to a confluence of factors, including the recent prime-time success of NBC’s “Deal or No Deal,” improved time slots this season and host Meredith Vieira’s presence on NBC’s “Today” show.

Among the freshmen series, the story was familiar: King World’s “Rachael Ray” continued to lead by a wide margin, up 5 percent week to week to a 2.1. Sony Pictures Television’s “The Greg Behrendt Show” was up 14 percent to a 0.8. NBC Universal Television’s “The Megan Mullally Show” was flat with a 0.8.

Warner Bros.’ “The Dr. Keith Ablow Show” had an interesting week. The show was up a sharp 22 percent to a 1.1 thanks to an interview with John Mark Karr, the debunked confessor to JonBenet Ramsey’s murder. At the same time, the show was downgraded in two markets: Washington (from 4 p.m. to 11 a.m.) and Norfolk, Va. (from 4 p.m. to 10 a.m.).

For the rookie court shows, both Twentieth Television’s “Cristina’s Court” (1.4) and Sony Pictures Television’s “Judge Maria Lopez” (0.9) were unchanged.

Highlights among returning shows include King World’s “The Oprah Winfrey Show” hitting a 22-week high with a 6.7 rating; Twentieth Television’s “Geraldo at Large” up 15 percent to a 1.5; CBS Paramount Domestic Television’s “Entertainment Tonight” with its highest ratings in 32 weeks with a 5.4; and Paramount Domestic Television’s “Judge Joe Brown” with a season-high 2.9.