Cold winds and celebrity scandals fueled a hot February sweep for syndicated programs, with most genres showing improvement within their already top-ranked series for the period Feb. 1 through Feb. 28, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Newsmagazines in particular were propelled by circumstances, and every program in the category improved or held even from February 2006.
Category leader “Entertainment Tonight” continued to rank as the top show, earning a 6.3 average to mark its highest February book in four years. For 2007, the series jumped 15 percent over the same period last year. “Inside Edition” grew 8 percent year-to-year, averaging a 4.0 for the sweep. “Access Hollywood” showed the most improvement, soaring to a 3.1 average, up 24 percent over 2006, when the Olympics disrupted scheduling. “ET” spinoff “The Insider” held even at a 3.0 average, while “Extra” grew 4 percent to a 2.5 average.
Game shows also showed year-to-year improvement, with three of the four series in the category growing over 2006. The biggest jump came from “Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” which was up 12 percent to a 3.7 average. Longtime genre leaders “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy” were each up 1 percent for the period. “Wheel” earned a 9.0 score while “Jeopardy” averaged a 7.8. The only show to downtrend was “Family Feud,” which slid 5 percent to a 2.1.