ET, Oprah, Judy Top Sweeps


Paramount’s Entertainment Tonight Weekend easily topped the weekly hours for its fourth consecutive May sweeps with a 3.4 national Nielsen Media Research household rating (the weekly ET was the top mag strip, as well).

Although its numbers were down 11% from last year, ET Weekend maintained a 70% ratings advantage over its closest rivals. Several weekly hours, including ET Weekend, were hurt by coverage of the much-stronger-than-usual Preakness horse race on May 15, which scored its highest ratings in 14 years.
Second place was a three-way tie between NBC Universal/MGM’s Stargate SG-1, Twentieth’s The Practice and Warner Bros.’ rookie The West Wing, all averaging 2.0 for the sweeps. Stargate was down 17% from last May, while The Practice dropped 9%.
In fifth place, NBC Universal’s Access HollywoodWeekend was up 6% to a 1.9, followed by Tribune’s Andromeda at a 1.8, down 14%, and Warner Bros.’ ER, also at a 1.8, but down 28%. Tied for eighth place at 1.7 were Warner Bros.’ Extra! Weekend, which slipped 6%, Tribune’s Mutant X, down 19%, and Paramount’s rookie Unexplained Mysteries.
For the week ending May 23 (final May sweeps numbers won't be in until next week), ratings for the strips (Monday-Friday shows) were slightly softer because many shows did not air in New York on May 18 and 19 due to coverage of the 9/11 hearings.
The only group to buck the downtrend was the late-night relationship strips, led by NBC Universal’s Blind Date, up 7% to a 1.5 and topping the dating field for the eighth week in a row. Warner Bros.’ Elimi-Date was up 8% to a 1.4 in second place, with NBC Universal’s Fifth Wheel up 9% to a 1.2 and Twentieth’s Ex-Treme Dating up 11% to a 1.0.
In daytime, although no court shows were higher, Paramount’s Judge Judy hit a milestone, making it 400 straight weeks as the number-one gaveler, with a 5.0, even with the prior week.
King World’s Oprah led the talkers, up 3% to a 7.6. Warner Bros,’ Celebrity Justice, which has just been renewed for year three, was the only magazine to improve, up 8% from the prior week to a 1.3. Paramount’s Entertainment Tonight was the number one magazine by a wide margin at a 5.0, down 4%.