Paramount Domestic Television's The Insider was syndication's highest-rated national launch, leading the eight rookies debuting in syndication's premiere week, which ended Sept. 19, while King World Productions cleaned up in some key categories.
At a 2.4 national rating, The Insider was the highest-rated magazine to debut since 1996 and the highest rated syndicated strip of any type to premiere since Dr. Phil in 2002.
Buena Vista's The Tony Danza Show, hurt by middle-of-the-night clearances in three of the top-five markets, premiered at a 1.2, although the show easily won its time periods in the other two top-five markets, New York and Philadelphia. In the metered markets, Danza scored a 1.8 in its first week on the air, 50% higher than its national rating.
NBC Universal's Home Delivery and Twentieth's Ambush Makeover each notched a 0.9 for their first weeks. Warner Bros.' The Larry Elder Show opened with a 0.8, but did 38% better in the larger cities, rising to a 1.1 metered market average for the week.
Sony's Pat Croce premiered with a 0.6 and Sony's Life & Style premiered with a 0.5. October Moon's That's Funny also began in the week ending Sept. 19, but did not rate nationally because the show includes no barter and has only limited clearances.
Meanwhile, NBC Universal's The Jane Pauley Show in its third week was up 15% to a 1.5. Pauley was hit with its first downgrades out of early fringe on Monday, Sept. 27, on the ABC affiliate in Nashville and on KXAS, the NBC owned-and-operated station in Dallas, where it was replaced by Paramount's Judge Judy and Warner Bros,' The Ellen DeGeneres Show, respectively.
Among the new off-net sitcoms entering national syndication, Twentieth's Malcolm in the Middle was on top with a 2.8, followed by Twentieth's Yes Dear with a 1.5 and Paramount's Girlfriends with a 1.4.
In weekly action, King World's off-net drama CSI, which was the top-rated drama on television last season, premiered in syndication in a similar spot, with an impressive 4.3. The off-UPN Twilight Zone in its second week was up 45% to a 1.6.
Elsewhere, King World's Oprah Winfrey Show kicked off her new season, giving away more than $7 million worth of new cars and scoring a 7.8, its highest rating in seven months. King World's Dr. Phil started his third season with a 5.1, up 21% from the prior week and up 55% over the past three weeks.
Buena Vista's Live with Regis and Kelly was unchanged at a 3.2. NBC Universal's Maury slipped 7% to a 2.6. Paramount's Montel Williams was up 5% to a 2.3. Ellen, which opened strong the prior week, dipped 10% to a 1.8, but still had the most improvement of any talk show over last year, gaining 20%. NBC Universal's Jerry Springer was unchanged at a 1.8.
NBC Universal's Starting Over started its second season with a 1.0 up 25% from the prior week. Twentieth's Good Day Live greeted its new season with a 0.7, down 13% from the prior week.
Paramount's Entertainment Tonight was the number-one magazine, up 9% to a 4.7. Paramount's Judge Judy was the high court, despite easing 5% to a 4.1. King World's Jeopardy! with super-contestant Ken Jennings, led all syndicated shows with an 8.5, unchanged from the prior week. And King World's Everybody Loves Raymond regained the top spot among off-net sitcoms, climbing 5% to a 6.0.
That gave King World the top drama, the top comedy, the top game show and the top talker in syndication.