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Time to sweep up clearances

2/04/2001 07:00:00 PM Eastern

With February sweeps having begun, now is the time for all not-yet-renewed rookie strips to shine if they want to survive into year two. Only two freshmen- Power of Attorney
and Judge Hatchett-
have so far officially secured spots for next season.

If the other rookies-including Arrest & Trial, Street Smarts, To Tell the Truth
and Curtis Court-
are serious about getting renewed, it might be worth their while to take a close look at Power of Attorney. The Twentieth Television-distributed series was the only first-timer to post a season high for the week ended Jan. 21, a 2.9 national household score according to Nielsen Media Research, 7% stronger than the previous ratings period and 38% better than its debut week.

Only a few freshmen have similarly been able to combine respectable ratings with a large margin of improvement since their fall 2000 launches: For the week ended Jan. 21, Judge Hatchett
posted a 2.4, up 26% from its debut; Arrest & Trial
a 2.0, up 5%; Street Smarts
a 1.9, up 36%; and To Tell the Truth
a 1.9, up 46%. Rounding out the group of freshmen: Curtis Court
(1.7, up 13%); Dr. Laura
(1.0, down 44%); Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus
(0.8, down 11%); Moral Court
(1.0, up 43%); and Sex Wars
(0.7, down 13%).

Some rivals attribute Power of Attorney's dominance to the fact that Twentieth is able to plug the show into strong time slots on its partnered distribution outlet, the Fox O & O group.

However, "it's not about the upgrades or the time periods," insists Twentieth TV chief Bob Cook. "It's more about how we are making the production tighter, making the cases more interesting, listening to what the audience tells us they want to watch."

To further justify Power of Attorney's hit status, he adds, "We know a lot of our audience tunes into watch our well-known, powerful attorneys; [they're] something that the average Joe can't afford. This is what makes us unique."

Rivals hoping to cut Power of Attorney's
lead may have a rough road. "We are going to make this show the best that we can. We have more rating points to garner," says Cook.

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