Fireworks, Wimbledon ace syndie shows

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Fourth of July fireworks, pushing everyone outdoors for the week ending July 8, caused a bunch of syndicated shows to burn out. Three strips earned all-time lows and six came up with season lows.

Also not helping matters for syndicated efforts was the Wimbledon tennis tournament, which pre-empted several daytime shows clustered on NBC-affiliated stations, which were running the event during that week.

In the worst ever category were Friends, scoring a 4.4 Nielsen household score, an 8% drop from the prior ratings period; The Drew Carey Show (2.6, down 10%); and Hollywood Squares (2.6, down 13%). All three are off-track from where they stood last year, with Drew (down 26%) falling the farthest, followed by Hollywood Squares (down 24%) and Friends (down 10%).

Hitting new season lows were four court-related shows: Judge Judy (4.7, down 13% for the week), Judge Joe Brown (3.1, down 6%), Power of Attorney (1.6, down 11%) and canceled Arrest & Trial (1.2, down 8%). Off-net sitcoms Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (1.4, down 13%) and Cosby (1.1, down 15%) similarly hit new season lows.

Now officially in repeats, departed action hour Xena tumbled 51% to a 1.9, her lowest rating in her six year history.

No returning talk shows gained ground - leader Oprah (5.2, down 4%) equaled her season low. She was followed by Jerry Springer (3.3, down 8%), Live with Regis and Kelly (3.2, down 14%) - co-host Kelly Ripa is still out on maternity leave, Maury (3.1, flat), Montel Williams (2.7, down 4%), Jenny (2.3, down 4%), Ricki (2.3, flat) and Rosie O'Donnell (2.2, flat).

Lonely bright spots were Maximum Exposure (2.2, up 22%) scoring its best numbers in nine weeks. And Change of Heart (2.0, up 5%), closed some of gap between itself and Blind Date (2.4, flat).
- Susanne Ault

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