Full court press by new entries

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Court-related series currently rule the roost among first-run rookies-
Power of Attorney
,
Arrest & Trial

and
Judge Hatchett

are usually the top-three ratings grabbers-and the new guys are apparently putting some strain on the genre's veterans.

Just one returning court strip, Twentieth Television's
Divorce Court
, has bettered its performance over the comparable period last year. For the week ended Oct. 22, according to Nielsen Media Research,
Divorce Court

nabbed a 3.3, a 14% jump over '99 and a 3% hop from the previous week.

"You can never underestimate the benefit of having an early start," says Twentieth Executive Vice President and General Sales Manager Paul Franklin, who launched
Divorce Court
, as well as
Power of Attorney

(2.5, up 4% from the previous period and 19% over its debut) in August. "That gave us two to three weeks of mometum" over the other court strips, which premiered in September and October.

Franklin also notes
Divorce Court
's being slotted on stronger stations and better time periods than last year-it recently won a third run on FOX O & O wtxf at 5:30 p.m.-"which shows why we're building compared with others."


Judge Judy

still leads the field (6.7, up 3% from the previous week) but is down 11% from last year. First runner-up
Judge Joe Brown

(3.9, up 3%) is flat from 1999. In worse shape, posting double-digit percentage losses from last year, are
People's Court

(1.9), which has dropped 24% from 1999, and
Judge Mills Lane

(1.6), which has slumped 27%.
People's Court

and
Mills Lane

are down 5% and 11%, respectively, from the previous week. Other court vet,
Judge Greg Mathis,

has slipped 9% both from last year's comparable period and from last week.

Following
Power of Attorney
, making the biggest inroad into the gavel circuit, is
Judge Hatchett

(1.9, down 10% from the previous week),
Curtis Court

(1.5, down 6%) and
Moral Court

(0.8, up 14%). Not straight court but carrying similar themes is
Arrest & Trial

(2.0, flat)

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