Baseball Boosts Dating Shows

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Most syndicated shows were little changed in the week ending Oct. 24, but the late-night dating shows got a boost when both the American and National League Championship Series went to deciding seventh games, keeping viewers up late.

NBC Universal’s Blind Date led the pack with the biggest increase of any strip in syndication, scoring a 22% increase to a 1.1. That matched the show’s season high, while Warner Bros.’ Elimi-Date gained 11% to a second place 1.0.

Elsewhere, while some shows were preempted by the baseball playoffs and local election specials, two of the top three talk shows clocked their best numbers of the season.

Buena Vista’s number-three talker, Live with Regis and Kelly, averaged a season-high 3.5, up 3% from the prior week with a performance by singer Celine Dion on Monday, Oct. 18, that reached a total audience of 6,050,000 households. That’s about 390,000 more homes than tuned in for an appearance by First Lady Laura Bush on Tuesday, Oct. 19.

The number-two talker, King World’s Dr. Phil, hit his highest ratings of the season, edging up 2% to a 5.3.

That ranked Dr. Phil as the fourth highest-rated first-run show in syndication after its fellow King World shows: Wheel of Fortune, The Oprah Winfrey Show and Jeopardy! Including off-net, King World shows made up syndication’s top six, with weekend hour CSI tying Dr. Phil at a 5.3, and Everybody Loves Raymond topping the half-hour sitcoms at a 6.3 for fourth place.

All the other veteran gabbers were down or flat.

Top talker Oprah was down 4% to a 7.5, good enough for second place overall. NBC Universal’s Maury, in fourth place, was down 4% to a 2.6. Paramount’s Montel Williams at a 2.2 was down 8%. Warner Bros.’ The Ellen DeGeneres Show, unchanged at a 2.0, had the strongest year-to-year performance of any talker, up 43%.

Next in line, NBC Universal’s Jerry Springer was unchanged at a 1.9, followed by NBC Universal’s Starting Over unchanged at a 1.1 and Twentieth’s Good Day Live, down 13% to a 0.7.

Also in daytime, Paramount’s Judge Judy was the only court show to hit a new season high, averaging a 4.7, up 2% to once again lead all courtrooms.

The highest rated of this season’s eight newcomers continues to be Paramount’s The Insider, which this week equalled its 2.6 series best, set the prior week.

For the first time, The Insider outrated NBC Universal’s veteran newsmagazine, Access Hollywood, to take third place among all magazines after Paramount’s Entertainment Tonight and King World’s Inside Edition. Access slipped to fourth place with a 2.4, down 8%.

Meanwhile, Insider Weekend hit a new series high 2.2, up 5%, tying NBC Universal’s The Chris Matthews Show for first place among the nine weekly half-hour news shows.

Matthews dropped 8% from the prior week.

NBC Universal’s The Jane Pauley Show gained 7% to a 1.5, while Buena Vista’s The Tony Danza Show remained at its series high 1.3 for the third week in a row. Twentieth’s Ambush Makeover gained 10% to a 1.1, while Warner Bros.’ The Larry Elder Show was unchanged at a 0.9. Sony’s Pat Croce was down 14% to a 0.6, while Life & Style was unchanged at a 0.5.

Among the off-net newcomers, weekly rookie CSI averaged a series high 5.3, up 6%. Twentieth’s Malcolm in the Middle was the top off-net strip with a 3.0, up 11%. NBC Universal’s Fear Factor was up 6% to a personal best 1.9, while Twentieth’s Yes, Dear was unchanged at a 1.7 and Paramount’s Girlfriends was down 6% to a 1.6.

Also of note, King World’s Jeopardy!, which featured its annual kids’ week instead of super-contestant Ken Jennings, dropped 20% to a 6.9, matching its season low. 

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