Launching this fall, syndicated talk show Dr. Keith Ablow has found its executive producer. Diane Rappoport, former executive producer of The Montel Williams Show, will take over in the same capacity for the new Telepictures program.
A Telepictures spokesperson confirmed that Rappoport will helm the show, which features the forensic psychiatrist who has been positioned as a younger-skewing Dr. Phil. Rappoport left Paramount's Montel in December after a seven-year run when Williams became the sole executive producer. She has also worked on The Howie Mandel Show and Paramount's less rowdy version of The Maury Povich Show.
Toler to Rule Divorce Court
Judge Lynn Toler will take over as presiding jurist for the upcoming season of Twentieth Television's syndicated court strip, Divorce Court. Toler replaces Mablean Ephriam, whose contract expired after hosting the show for its first seven seasons. A source close to the show said the two sides were unable to come to terms on a new deal. Twentieth Television declined further comment, but President Bob Cook praised Ephriam in a statement: “Mablean Ephriam's contributions to the show were inspiring, and it was a pleasure working with her.”
Toler returns to television after hosting the second and final season of Twentieth's former syndicated strip, Power of Attorney, in 2001. She is a former administrative judge in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.
O'Hurley Seps Into Feud
Actor/hoofer John O'Hurley is replacing Richard Karn as host of Family Feud beginning next season. O'Hurley, who stepped into the national spotlight last year on ABC's Dancing With the Stars, will join Feud for its 30th-anniversary season, which will feature a new set. O'Hurley can still be seen in syndication as J. Peterman on reruns of Seinfeld.
Family Feud comes from FremantleMedia North America and Tribune Entertainment.
B-Ball Sinks Ratings
The NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament ran roughshod over the national syndicated ratings for the week ending March 19. March Madness tipped off Thursday, March 16, on CBS, causing numerous preemptions on CBS stations and increased competition across the board.
None were hit harder than talk titans Oprah and Dr. Phil, which both dropped to season lows on the week; they air on numerous CBS affiliates in major markets. Oprah fell 21% on the week to an average of 5.8, which was also down 5% year-to-year. Dr. Phil was off 13% on the week to a 4.6, down 4% year-to-year.
Divorce Court was one of the few court shows to trend up for the week, gaining 8% to a 2.8. Elsewhere in court, Judge Judy was off 2% to a 4.8, Judge Joe Brown was down 3% to a 3.1, People's Court fell 3% to a 2.8 and rookie Judge Alex was up 5% to a 2.3.
B-ball also slammed the entertainment newsmagazines, as Entertainment Tonight fell 13% on the week to a 4.9, due in part to numerous preemptions. The show lost 26 metered markets, including all of the top five, for part of the week. ET spinoff The Insider was down 14% on the week to a 2.5. Both shows, however, were up 9% year-over-year.
Money Honey Buzzing
CNBC's The Wall Street Journal Report With Maria Bartiromo is the top-rated financial news program on television, according to Nielsen data cited by the show's distributor, NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution. After total viewership grew 7% from February 2005 to February 2006 (977,000 to 1.044 million), NBC U says the half-hour weekly syndicated show is the top financial news program in households, total viewers, and the 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54 demos for adults, men and women.