'The show in second place in the syndicated program rankings.'
'What is Jeopardy?' is an answer you could have taken to the bank for
years. Not so for the most recent week for which syndicated ratings are
available (June 10-16).
For the first time since anyone can remember, Jeopardy was unseated --
by Friends -- for the No. 2 spot, even though at a 6.2 Nielsen Media
Research rating, Friends was down 3 percent from the week before.
That's because Jeopardy
was down 10 percent from the week before -- at a 6.1 -- to its
lowest rating since the 1984-85 season.
It was also down 15 percent from the comparable year-ago rating.
Before we bring out the crying towels, however, that 6.1 still put it ahead
of 131 of the 134 shows on the chart.
And Jeopardy was not alone.
Three of the four top-three game shows (there was a tie for third) hit season
lows. Wheel of Fortune, the top game show and top show in syndication,
was down 3 percent from the prior week to a 7.5 and down 12 percent from the
comparable week last year.
Contributing somewhat to the record lows was the final game of the NBA
playoffs on NBC June 12 and Stanley Cup playoff games on ABC on June 10 and 13.
That meant preemption in access periods, where most of these game shows are
slotted, in a number of West Coast markets.
The number three game show, Hollywood Squares, had its lowest rated
week ever (it began in 1998). It was down 4 percent to a 2.2, and down 31
percent from last year.
For the first time this season, Squares was tied by Family
Feud, which was up 10 percent from the prior week to a 2.2, although
Feud is down 15 percent from last year at this time.
Other first-runs strips registering new season lows were Live with Regis
& Kelly, down 3 percent to a 3.2 and down 9 percent from last year, and
The Other Half, down 18 percent to a 0.9.
By comparison, the top rookie was Texas Justice, up 11 percent to a
The other series to record a new season low was Access Hollywood, down
8 percent to a 2.2 and tied with Extra for third among
ET was No. 1, up 4 percent to a 5.1, and ET Weekend No. 2 at a 3.3.
One hot genre was weekly movie review shows, perhaps
fueled by the beginning of the summer theatrical blitz.
Ebert & Roeper was up 19 percent to a
2.5 and newcomer Hot Ticket was up 27 percent to a 1.9.