Full court press by new entries
Susanne Ault -- Broadcasting & Cable, 11/5/2000 7:00:00 PM
Court-related series currently rule the roost among first-run rookies- Power of Attorney, Arrest & Trial and Judge Hatchett are usually the top-three ratings grabbers-and the new guys are apparently putting some strain on the genre's veterans.
Just one returning court strip, Twentieth Television's Divorce Court, has bettered its performance over the comparable period last year. For the week ended Oct. 22, according to Nielsen Media Research, Divorce Court nabbed a 3.3, a 14% jump over '99 and a 3% hop from the previous week.
"You can never underestimate the benefit of having an early start," says Twentieth Executive Vice President and General Sales Manager Paul Franklin, who launched Divorce Court, as well as Power of Attorney (2.5, up 4% from the previous period and 19% over its debut) in August. "That gave us two to three weeks of mometum" over the other court strips, which premiered in September and October.
Franklin also notes Divorce Court's being slotted on stronger stations and better time periods than last year-it recently won a third run on FOX O & O wtxf at 5:30 p.m.-"which shows why we're building compared with others."
Judge Judy still leads the field (6.7, up 3% from the previous week) but is down 11% from last year. First runner-up Judge Joe Brown (3.9, up 3%) is flat from 1999. In worse shape, posting double-digit percentage losses from last year, are People's Court (1.9), which has dropped 24% from 1999, and Judge Mills Lane (1.6), which has slumped 27%. People's Court and Mills Lane are down 5% and 11%, respectively, from the previous week. Other court vet, Judge Greg Mathis, has slipped 9% both from last year's comparable period and from last week.
Following Power of Attorney, making the biggest inroad into the gavel circuit, is Judge Hatchett (1.9, down 10% from the previous week), Curtis Court (1.5, down 6%) and Moral Court (0.8, up 14%). Not straight court but carrying similar themes is Arrest & Trial (2.0, flat)
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