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Newsmags, Game Shows Strong in Final Sweeps Week

Dec 12, 2006  •  Post A Comment

A strong final week of the November book created multiple season highs for syndicated programs, especially newsmagazines and game shows, as the sweeps came to a close. Unfortunately for off-network strips, the overall November tally meant double-digit drops for some longtime programming staples.

“Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Seinfeld,” and “Friends” took tumbles in the 2006 November sweeps average as the shows played their sixth, 12th and ninth seasons, respectively. The longtime off-net staples all fell 18 percent or more compared with performances during the November 2005 book. King World’s “Raymond” maintained its lead in the category, but fell 18 percent to a 5.3 sweeps average. Sony’s longtime favorite “Seinfeld” dropped 20 percent during the period to a 4.5 average, while Warner Bros.’ “Friends” slid 31 percent to a 3.7.

Sweeps news wasn’t kind to court shows, either, with every program in the genre either moderately down or flat compared with November 2005. CBS Paramount’s genre leader “Judge Judy” pulled a 4.8 sweeps average, off 2 percent, with second place going to the studio’s “Judge Joe Brown, which slipped 6 percent to a 3.0. For the last week of the sweep, however, “Brown” hit a season-high 3.1.

Warner Bros.’ duo of “The People’s Court” and “Judge Greg Mathis” held the next two spots, finishing with sweeps averages of 2.8 and 2.5, respectively. “The People’s Court” was down 3 percent compared with November 2005, while “Mathis” held even.

Newsmagazines saw a late surge in the final week of the sweeps, as NBC Universal’s “Access Hollywood” and Warner’s “Extra” each hit season highs. “Access” hit a 3.0 on the last week of the November book to finish the sweeps even with 2005 at a 2.7. “Extra” earned a season-best 2.4 in the last week to pull a 2.3 sweeps average, which was down 4 percent in sweep-to-sweep comparisons. CBS Paramount’s “Entertainment Tonight” grew 2 percent for the sweeps to a 5.6, while spinoff “The Insider” was off by 10 percent to a 2.7.

Game shows generally came out of the sweep besting or unchanged from 2005 numbers. King World’s “Wheel of Fortune” hit a season-high 9.2 in the last week of the book to average an 8.6 score. The syndicator’s fellow strip “Jeopardy!” finished the sweeps up 3 percent to a 6.8 average. Buena Vista’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” was also up, growing 6 percent to a 3.3, while Debmar’s “Family Feud” scored a 1.8, down 10 percent from 2005 but scoring a season high 2.0 in the final week of the book.

Talk shows saw King World’s “Dr. Phil” close the gap on annual leader “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” “Dr. Phil” was the only talk show to improve on its November 2005 performance, rising 2 percent to a 5.6 average for the sweeps and marking its best November since 2003. “Oprah” was down 13 percent to a 7.1. Rookie champ “Rachael Ray” finished its first sweeps with a 2.1.