Syndie Shows Face Competition

Sep 28, 2008  •  Post A Comment

During the first week of the syndication season, viewers seemed too distracted by other events to make crowning a clear-cut winner easy.
Five shows debuted during the week of Sept. 8, but they competed with big news events including hurricanes, the economic meltdown and the intensifying presidential race. That pulled syndication viewers away from daytime broadcasts to cable news and weather.
Among the five new first-run syndicated shows, in national numbers, NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution’s “Deal or No Deal” led the pack in its first week with a 1.6 household rating, followed by CBS Television Distribution’s “The Doctors” with a 1.3.
In third place, Sony Pictures Television’s “Judge Karen” scored a 1.1, followed by Program Partners’ “Family Court With Judge Penny” with a 0.6.
Data for Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution’s “The Bonnie Hunt Show” is being reprocessed, and therefore was not available.
“There are really no significant disappointments,” said Bill Carroll, VP and director of programming for Katz Television Group, “but there are no shows that have been breakout hits.”
“Deal,” which enjoys favorable time slots leading into prime time in some major markets, racked up the best numbers for a game-show debut since Disney-ABC’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” in 2002.
“I think we’re off to a very solid start,” NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution President Barry Wallach said of “Deal.”
“The Doctors” also performed well, notching the strongest launch for a talk program since CBS Television Distribution’s “The Rachael Ray Show.”
“It’s a good place to start, but it’s not where we’re going to end up,” said Jay McGraw, executive producer of “The Doctors.” “We’re in a new genre of television. We’re starting from scratch here.”
Most executives are hesitant to claim victory so early in the season, as viewers return to the habit of watching television after the summer break. Syndication executives agree that it can take about 10 weeks to assess how well new syndicated shows are performing.
Two other first-run syndie shows debuted last week: Debmar-Mercury’s “Trivial Pursuit: America Plays” and Telepictures Productions’ “Judge Jeanine Pirro.” In a four-day average of weighted metered markets, “Pursuit” pulled a 0.6 and “Pirro” did a 0.8.
Among returning shows, Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution’s “Ellen’s” sixth-season launch bounced up 16% from last year’s launch with a 2.2 household rating, bolstered by a visit from Michelle Obama and photos from Ms. DeGeneres’ wedding to longtime partner Portia de Rossi.
While CBS Television Distribution’s “The Oprah Winfrey Show” remains far and away the queen of talk with a commanding 5.0 week-one rating, Mr. Carroll said that launch is surprisingly soft, considering Ms. Winfrey’s opening show featured interviews with several American Olympians.
“I think everyone is going to be keeping a closer eye on ‘Oprah,’” he said.
All the week-one numbers have to be viewed through the prism of current events, which pulled viewers to news and information sources. Year-to-year, cable is seeing major increases in its total viewers within daytime’s key demographic, women 25-54, gaining 700,000 viewers, or 17%, over this time last September.
Fox News, CNN and the Weather Channel more than doubled their audiences in that demographic compared with last year.

One Comment

  1. Ice hockey is an interesting exercise, I like it.

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