Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

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The blizzard that shut down the East Coast was a boon for syndicators. With most people in major markets like New York, Washington, Boston and Philadelphia stuck at home under a blanket of snow, viewing levels of daytime syndicated talk shows skyrocketed.

Of the 14 syndie talkers, only King World's Martha Stewart
lost ground. The home-and-garden show was flat in ratings and down one share point to a 2.1 rating/6 share in Nielsen's weighted metered markets. The other 13 were up at least 20% for the day, and four were up 50% or more. BROADCASTING & CABLE looked at ratings for daytime talk shows airing between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. in Nielsen's 55 metered markets on Monday, Feb. 17 and
compared that day's ratings with each show's average metered-market performance in January in the same daypart.

Getting the biggest bump was the show that probably needs it least. King World's The Oprah Winfrey Show
jumped 58% over its January metered-market average to a 9.3/18. On WABC-TV New York at 4 p.m., the show soared 150% to an 11.0/17.

Universal's Maury
jumped 52% to a 4.1/9, leaping 181% to a 7.6/13 on WB affiliate WPIX-TV New York at 10 a.m. The station also got good ratings out of Universal's The Jerry Springer Show
at 11 a.m., its 6.7/11 up 103%.

Another Universal show, Crossing Over With John Edward, saw a nice increase to a 1.7/4, 55% over its average January performance.

Shows that air on NBC and CBS affiliates in daytime didn't see ratings boosts as large because they were preempted in many major markets by wall-to-wall news coverage of the storm. Although the preemptions didn't count against the shows, they weren't helped as much as such shows as Jerry Springer and Maury, which air on many Fox, UPN and WB stations. Oprah's group deal with the ABC owned-and-operated stations helped its strong performance, because the ABC stations stayed with their regular daytime fare.

Even though Dr. Phil airs on many NBC and CBS stations, the show still saw a 41% one-day bump, scoring a 7.2/15 over its January average of 5.1/13. And The John Walsh Show, on NBC O&Os, increased 23% to a 2.6/6.

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