Judge Joe Makes a Mark

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Upgrades from daytime slots to early fringe and pairings with top-rated court show Judge Judy have given Paramount's Judge Joe Brown a ratings boost this year. In its fifth season, the show has jumped 6% season-to-date over last year as of the week ended Nov. 17, the last date national Nielsen ratings were available for syndicated shows.

While the national bump isn't huge, it's "something most of the court shows can't claim," says one analyst. "Most of the court shows aren't showing any growth." By comparison, Paramount's Judge Judy
has dropped 9% season-to-date, although it still clobbers all other court shows. Judge Judy
scored a 5.1 in the last round of national ratings, putting it in the top 10 of all syndicated programs.

"Judge Joe Brown
has been the No. 2 court show since he came on the air," says Paramount Domestic Television President John Nogawski. "But I think, this year, he really hit his stride. He's been recognized by the station community as clearly the No. 2 show, and that's when we started receiving serious upgrades."

It also helps that Fox dropped its afternoon kids block, opening a space in early fringe. Fox stations were happy to pair the show with Judge Judy, and the combination has seriously strengthened the time period for several Fox affiliates.

Fox affiliates have renewed Judge Joe Brown
through 2006, and so has WNBC(TV) New York, which started airing the show this year. WNBC acquired rights to air it this year in 2000, when Dennis Swanson still was running the station, but the Fox duopoly in New York—WNYW(TV) and WWOR(TV)—had the license until this year. On WNBC, Judge Joe Brown
is improving its 3 p.m. time period by 11% over Warner Bros.'People's Court, which was in the spot last year.

In Washington, where Judge Joe Brown
replaced the Fox kids block, the show is improving 3 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on WTTG (TV) by 150% and 142%, respectively. And that's after the station first tried new Twentieth talker The Rob Nelson Show
in the slot, switching to Judge Joe Brown
in early November.

"Judge Joe Brown
is a big ratings-getter and a revenue generator for the stations," Nogawski says. "And that's the simplest goal the station has: establishing hits and then keeping them on the air."

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