Fighting the syndie doldrums


March came in like a lamb for most syndicated shows.

Typically, the first post-February sweeps week (this one ended March 10) is
characterized by viewing-level drop-offs as the promo machines gear down until
May. Still, several shows bucked that trend.

The biggest gainer of any syndicated show this week was Entertainment
Tonight Weekend
, up 38 percent to a 4.4. It was the top weekly hour for a
14th straight week.

Compared with the same week last year, ET Weekend is up 33 percent,
also the largest year-to-year jump of any weekly hour.

In second among weekly hours, up from fifth last week, was Andromeda
at a 3.1 rating, up 7 percent from the previous week.

Also strong was rookie off-network show King of the Hill, which hit an
all-time high with a 3.8, up 6 percent for the week and a whopping 52 percent
over its debut the week of Sept. 17.

Hill was No. 4 on the sitcom depth chart behind No. 3 Everybody Loves
, which was down 6 percent to a 5.8. That is still up 38 percent from
its debut the week of Sept. 24.

The top off-net sitcom remains Friends, up 1 percent to a 7.4,
followed by Seinfeld, down 6 percent to a 6.7.