Let the games end


The Olympics served up medals to athletes but migraines to some syndicated shows in access dayparts that ran head-to-head with the Games' first hour and, in some cases, were preempted.

Hit hardest were the magazine shows. The top four all posted their weakest marks ever. The worst off were NBC-station-skewing Extra (2.0, down 31% from the previous period) and Access Hollywood (1.4, down 30%), according to Nielsen Media Research for the week ended Sept. 24. Other low points were reached by Entertainment Tonight, which slumped 20% to a 4.5, and Inside Edition, which fell 15% to a 2.3.

Even syndication stalwarts Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy felt the heat from the Olympic torch, dropping to their worst numbers in 10 years, Wheel (6.8) was down 28% from the week prior, and Jeopardy (6.3) was off 14%.

With not much of a bang, a pack of off-net series debuted during the period as well, including Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (at 1.7), Moesha (1.5), 7th Heaven (1.2) and Early Edition (1.2).

New strip entry To Tell the Truth (1.3) was not helped by its 7:30 run on KCAL(TV) Los Angeles in a competitive showdown with the Olympics on KNBC(TV) Los Angeles.

"Things were in an upheaval over the Olympics. But, in the end, viewers will get back to normal viewing patterns," says Katz TV's Bill Carroll.

In comparison, daytime talk and court strips walked away with only some scratches, and even a few laurels. Oprah, at a 6.7, was up 3%; Live With Regis, at a 4.1, was up 11%; and Queen Latifah, at a 1.1, was up 22%. Slipping only slightly or holding steady were Montel (3.2, down 6%); Jerry Springer (3.2, flat); Maury (2.9, down 9%); and Rosie (2.8, down 3%).