Hoops Hamper Syndie Shows


Ratings for syndicated shows, many of which were in repeats, moved lower for the week ending March 20, But this week should probably carry an asterisk with a big caveat: NCAA basketball accounted for a whopping 36 hours of pre-emptions.

Those were all on CBS affiliates, so not all shows were affected equally by March Madness. But when they were, it was dramatic.

For example, Dr. Phil was down 20% from the week before to a 4.8 rating, with a repeat of the show coming within a tenth of its lowest rating of the season. Oprah, also in repeats, did have its lowest-rated week of the season, down 13% to a 6.1.

In third place, Live with Regis and Kelly was down 3% to a 3.5, but still had the biggest year-to-year increase among the top five talk shows, up 13% from last year. Maury was up 10% to a 3.3, and Montel, rounding out the top five, was up 4% to a 2.5.

In a week where a small drop was a big victory, Judge Judy did well to only drop 2% to a 5.1 after losing its primary telecast in three of the top 6 markets March 17 and 18 to basketball,

Judge Joe Brown, the only court show to improve, was up 3% to a 3.5. Divorce Court was unchanged at a 2.8 and People's Court and Judge Mathis tied for fourth at a 2.6, with People's Court losing 4% and Mathis unchanged.

There was also a photo finish in late night, where the only two remaining dating shows finished neck and neck (or should that be "necking and necking"). Blind Date was down 15% to a 1.1, tying Elimidate, which was flat.

Year to year, Blind Date was down 27% and Elimidate down 15%.

In rookie news, The Insider had no trouble keeping its top rated newcomer status despite basketball preemptions in four of the top five markets for two days, slipping 15% to a 2.3. Meanwhile, the show's weekly version, Insider Weekend, was up 29% to a 1.8.

The second highest rated surviving rookie, Tony Danza-- in repeats all week-- also lost 15% to a 1.1. Ambush Makeover was down 9% to a 1.0, and Larry Elder was unchanged at a .9. Low-rated rookies Pat Croce and Life & Style have reportedly ended production and will not be back next season. Premiere to date, Croce has averaged a 0.7, while Life & Style managed only a 0.5.