Tough month for talkers
By Joe Schlosser -- Broadcasting & Cable, 3/17/2002 7:00:00 PM
The February sweeps results are in for syndication, and the news isn't good for the top talk shows. All the top nine first-run talk shows saw declines, including six with a double-digit drop-off from the previous year. The February book has an asterisk, though: It included 17 days of Olympics coverage. A number of shows in syndication were bumped or preempted by Olympics, but that doesn't really explain the big drops for talk shows airing primarily in daytime.
Oprah Winfrey, who announced last week that she will end her daytime run after 2005-06, led the talk-show pack once again, despite a 12% dip from February 2001. Winfrey's talker averaged a 5.8 rating for the sweeps period, according to Nielsen Media Research. Live With Regis and Kelly was second, with a 3.9, down 7% from last year.
Maury was third, its 3.4 rating off 8% from last year. Jerry Springer followed, with 2.9, down a whopping 24%. The Montel Williams Show dropped 20%, to 2.8. The Rosie O'Donnell Show, its run slated to end in May, continued to slide, falling 23% from last February, to 2.4. The Jenny JonesShow fell 17% to 1.9, tying Ricki Lake, off 27%. Sally Jessy Raphael, canceled last week after 19 seasons, averaged 1.7, down 29% from last February.
In all of syndication, Wheel of Fortune was again tops, averaging 10.1 (down 8%), followed by Jeopardy with 8.5. Friends was the top-rated off-net sitcom, at 7.5, and Seinfeld was close, with 6.7. Everybody Loves Raymond, in its first syndication season, scored an impressive 6.1. Entertainment Tonight was the top-rated newsmagazine for the 46th consecutive sweeps, even though its 6.2 was 10% below last year's.
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