Riding The Sweep's Coattails

Buoyed by the first two days of the May sweeps, with its heavily promoted original programming, talk and newsmagazine programs prospered the most among syndicated shows, posting double-digit week-to-week gains, according to Nielsen ratings for the week ended May 1.

It was a different story in year-to-year comparisons for news and entertainment magazines, which continued to see slight to mild losses. (The same could not be said of King World's top-rated access series Wheel of Fortune, which held even with last year at an 8.4 rating.) One striking development: Paramount's The Insider, pending the return of co-host Pat O'Brien, posted the largest increase among the entertainment magazines for the week, climbing 13% (to a 2.6), and 17% to a 1.4 in women 18-49. Paramount's Entertainment Tonight, long the genre leader, improved 11% to 5.0 for the week but fell 4% for the year. King World's Inside Edition suffered the least year-to-year erosion of any magazine show, registering a 3% drop. (It was up 6% for the week to a 3.3.)

The four talk shows with the biggest week-to-week increases: Telepictures' Ellen DeGeneres Show, jumping 18% to a 2.0 rating and improving 5% from the previous year; Paramount's Montel Williams Show (2.5 rating), up 14% (4% for the year-ago comparison); NBC Universal's Jerry Springer Show (2.4) up 14% (9% from the previous year); and King World's Dr. Phil (5.7), up 10% (6% year-to-year).

King World's talk-show leader, The Oprah Winfrey Show (7.4), continued to show amazing strength, gaining 6% for the week and 14% for the year, while leading all syndicated programs for the week in women 18-49 and 25-54.