With the weather cold on the East Coast, February sweeps ratings numbers were hot for syndicators.
In the latest tally from Nielsen Media Research for the week ending Feb. 18, the majority of daytime series and a number of game shows trended upward as viewers took shelter by the tube. Ratings verdicts were especially good in the court genre; every court series either beat or tied season bests.
Talk shows had a strong second full week of sweeps, with rookie series “Rachael Ray” scoring its best rating so far. The strip earned a 2.6 score, up 8 percent from the previous week. Veteran talk show “Martha” also set a season best with a 1.6 rating, up 4 percent from the previous week.
Other programs in the category to see growth included CBS Television Distribution’s “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” up 4 percent to a 7.6, NBC Universal’s “Maury,” up 4 percent to a 2.7, “Jerry Springer,” up 6 percent to a 1.9, “Montel Williams,” growing 6 percent to a 1.8, and “Tyra Banks,” up 7 percent to a 1.6.
In year-to-year comparisons, only three veterans showed improvement over the same week in 2006. “Oprah” was up 10 percent, “Dr. Phil” was up 8 percent to a 5.7 and Buena Vista’s “Live With Regis and Kelly” improved 8 percent to a 3.9.
Newsmagazines were once again a hot genre, aided by continued coverage of the death of former model and reality star Anna Nicole Smith. Genre leader “Entertainment Tonight” scored its best average in three years with a 6.6 rating, up 3 percent for the week and 22 percent over 2006. “Inside Edition” grew over its previous season best to a 4.2 score, up 2 percent weekly and 17 percent yearly. “The Insider” earned an all-time high driven by coverage of Ms. Smith, up 3 percent for the week and 10 percent for the year to a 3.2. NBC Universal’s “Access Hollywood” held even at a 3.1, up 25 percent for the week over 2006. “Extra” was also way up, at a 2.5.
Among game shows, Buena Vista’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” continued to roll, hitting a season-best 3.9 score, up a whopping 26 percent compared with 2006. “Family Feud” also hit a season high with a 2.3 rating.
While most genres had a good week, court shows proved to be the strongest category for the week, with every strip beating or matching season bests.
“Judge Judy” grew 4 percent to a new high of 5.3, while “Judge Joe Brown” grew 3 percent to a season-high 3.5. Warner Bros.’ “The People’s Court” soared 7 percent to a season-best 3.2 with sister series “Judge Mathis” unchanged from its previous high of 2.8. Twentieth Television’s “Divorce Court” rounded out the top five with a gain of 9 percent from the previous week to a new season high of 2.4.
“Judge Alex” earned a season high of 2.3, up 10 percent. Sony’s “Judge Hatchett” also set a personal season record, earning a 1.8, up 13 percent on the week. Twentieth’s “Cristina’s Court” matched its season high of 1.5, up 7 percent, and “Judge Maria Lopez” hit an all-time high of 1.2, up 9 percent.