‘Doctors,’ ‘Wilkos’ Post Gains in March Syndie Sweep

Apr 14, 2009  •  Post A Comment

“The Doctors” ended the March sweep ratings period with a positive prognosis, while NBC Universal’s “The Steve Wilkos Show” captured the highest year-to-year gain in first-run syndication during the ratings period.
“Doctors,” in its first season, is up 46% to a 1.9 household rating average for the March sweep versus its premiere week in September.
The top three daily rookie syndication shows made gains from their premiere weeks, including a 7% rise for NBC’s “Deal or No Deal” to a 1.7 and Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution’s “The Bonnie Hunt Show,” which increased by 25% to a 1.0.
The rest of the field either held steady from premiere week or dropped, with the largest decline coming from Sony Pictures Television’s “Judge Karen,” off 18% to a 0.9.
Disney-ABC’s weekend show “Legend of the Seeker” dropped 38% from its premiere week, averaging a 1.8 rating in March.
Veteran syndicated shows generally posted year-to-year declines in this rare March sweep period. Usually set in February, the winter sweeps period was pushed into March in order to accommodate the original Feb. 17 deadline for the digital television transition (since moved to June 12).
While the sweeps help stations set local advertising rates, this year’s March sweep period will more than likely complicate matters. Year-to-year comparisons become difficult because it’s unfair to compare this year’s sweep with last year’s normally scheduled February sweep.
Court and game shows posted across the genre declines, including double-digit tumbles for CBS’ “Judge Joe Brown” (off 12% to a 2.2), Warner Bros.’ “The People’s Court” (off 17% to a 1.9), Twentieth Television’s “Judge Alex” (off 15% to a 1.5) and Debmar-Mercury’s “Family Feud” (off 21% to a 1.5).
The only show to stave off a decline was Sony’s “Judge David Young,” which remained flat with last year with a 0.8.
For talk shows, NBC’s “Steve Wilkos” posted the highest year-to-year gain of the sweep in first-run daily syndication with a 22% uptick to a 1.1. Fellow NBC program “The Jerry Springer Show” and Warner Bros.’ “The Tyra Banks Show” tied with “Wilkos,” with “Springer” off 8%; “Tyra” held steady from last year.
Leading the talk show pack, CBS’ “The Oprah Winfrey Show” saw a 10% increase to a 5.4, followed by “Dr. Phil” with a 3.5, down 17%.
Disney-ABC’s “Live With Regis and Kelly” slipped 4% to a 2.6, while Warner Bros.’ “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” gained 10% to a 2.3.
Warner Bros. gained ground in the entertainment newsmagazine department, with its programs showing the only year-to-year improvements in the genre. “TMZ” increased 5% to a 2.3, while “Extra” moved up 6% to a 1.8.
The rest of the pack dipped slightly, save for CBS’ “The Insider,” which faced large preemptions due to the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament through March. “Insider” fell 14% to a 1.8.

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