Alex Tops First-Run Syndie Debuts


Benefiting from a spate of double runs, Twentieth TV’s new court show Judge Alex debuted to higher national ratings than NBC Universal’s highly touted Martha, whose second runs had yet to kick in the week ending Sept. 18.

Nielsen shows Alex, airing on 183 stations in 93% of the U.S., getting a 2.1. That was the highest among the three first-run strips launching that week—one impacted to some extent by preemptions for presidential speeches and a power blackout in Los Angeles—while the Mark Burnett-produced Martha Stewart show debuted at a 2.0 on 226 stations in 97%.
Alex ranked sixth out of seven court shows, ahead of Sony's Judge Hatchett at 1.8. Its prospects look good for the national numbers next week, with its overnight metered-market numbers holding steady its first two weeks.
Martha topped the debut numbers for NBC Universal’s cancelled Jane Pauley Show, which opened at a 1.6. Stewart inherited many of Pauley’s time periods in big markets.
Telepictures’ Tyra opened at a 1.1, mostly on UPN stations in top markets.
Debuting on 194 stations covering 96% of the country, the talk show featuring supermodel Tyra Banks earned a 0.9 ratings in women 18-34. That was the highest mark in that category for any talk debut in two years, and the second highest since Dr. Phil’s 2.5 series debut rating with young women back in 2002 (13 talk shows have debuted since then).
Program Partners' weekly off-net series, Canadian import Da Vinci’s Inquest, opened at a 1.4, while among off-net sitcoms opening that week, Twentieth’s Bernie Mac got a 2.0 (on 218 stations and 88% of the country), a mark matched by Buena Vista’s My Wife & Kids (163 stations/89%).
Of the returning series with season debuts, King World’s Dr. Phil averaged a 5.0 up 14% from reruns the prior week and down 2% from a year ago.
NBC U’s Maury got a 2.7, up 8% week to week and 4% from a year ago, while Telepictures’ Ellen in its second week jumped 10% to 2.2 and 22% for the year—the biggest jump of any talk show.