In Focus


Holiday, Inaugural Boost Ratings

Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the presidential inauguration boosted ratings for syndie daytime shows in the week ended Jan. 23. The number of TV watchers rose by nearly 2 million from the previous week, a 5% increase. The all-network coverage of the inauguration shortened the week and heightened the holiday’s impact for most strips. Three first-run strips had their best week of the season: Paramount’s Judge Joe Brown, Buena Vista’s Who Wants To Be a Millionaire and NBC Universal’s The Jane Pauley Show.

Jane Enlists Paul Newman

NBC Universal is looking to text messages to boost ratings of some of its syndicated shows during the February sweeps. Viewers of Blind Date, Maury and Jerry Springer can win trips to Miami, New York and Los Angeles by watching the shows and using cellphone text messages to answer trivia questions. Meantime, Jane Pauley enlisted Paul Newman to help her show. Newman was scheduled to appear on Feb. 3 and teach viewers how to make trail mix using his microwave popcorn.

Alex gets Day in Court

Judge Alex has a promising future with Twentieth Television, having been cleared to debut this fall in more than 65% of the country. Alex’s rise comes at the expense of another Twentieth Television court show: Texas Justice, with Larry Joe Doherty. Stations rushed to sign up for the new show, which will be hosted by Alex Ferrer, a Cuban-born Florida Circuit Court judge. Texas Justice has yet to be renewed.