The reruns and weaker episodes that fill the syndicated landscape before
the start of the May sweeps, combined with two days of preemptions for coverage
of Pope Benedict XVI's election, resulted in lackluster ratings during the
week ended April 24.

Nielsen national barter rankings show that, as usual, top off-net
sitcoms airing in access time periods dominated first-run fare in adults

Seinfeld led all weekday strips with
a 3.7 rating in the key demo, compared with a 3.6 for Everybody Loves Raymond and a 3.3 for
Friends. The weekend version of
Seinfeld led all syndicated shows in adults
18-49, earning a 3.9.

Top-rated Wheel of Fortune, hitting a
new season-low 8.1 household rating, nonetheless led all first-run access
strips in adults 18-49. It earned a 2.0 rating in the demo, versus a 1.9 for
Entertainment Tonight, 1.7 for
Jeopardy! (which matched its season low with
a 6.9 household rating), 1.1 for Access
and 1.0 for Extra.

In the household rankings, most magazines declined slightly for the
week. Ironically, as testimony heated up in the Michael Jackson trial, ratings
for Celebrity Justice dropped by the largest
margin of any national magazine. It gave up 10% of its audience from the
previous week, finishing down 31% year-to-year at a 0.9.

Daytime shows turned in a mixed week, with the top talkers
The Oprah Winfrey Show,
Dr. Phil and Maury all increasing from the previous week.
Maury, however, dropped a bit year-to-year.
The Montel Williams Show (2.2) outpaced
The Ellen DeGeneres Show (1.7).


Day by Day Planner

Jan. 25-27, Mandalay Bay Hotel & Conference Center, Las Vegas Our top picks of panels and speeches; see your official guide for the full schedule