The week the search for missing Washington D.C. intern Chandra Levy heated up really lit a fire underneath the syndicated news magazines.
For the ratings period ending July 15, which followed the weekend Congressman Gary Condit fessed up to his affair with Levy, both Entertainment Tonight and Inside Edition scored their best numbers in the past two months.
Leading the magazines, all of which have been thoroughly covering the Levy story, was ET, scoring a 5.6 Nielsen household rating, a 14% hike from the previous period. Behind ET were Inside Edition (3.0, up 15%), Extra (2.8, up 27%) and Access Hollywood (2.3, up 39%).
The completion of the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament, with its requisite preemptions, helped shows in access that had been adversely affected by it. That factor played into some series rebounding from their all-time lows posted last week, including Friends (5.0, up 14%), Drew Carey (2.9, up 12%) and Hollywood Squares (3.2, up 23%).
Others perking up significantly include Seinfeld (4.2, up 11%), 3rd Rock from the Sun (3.2, up 19%), Wheel of Fortune (8.3, up 11%), Jeopardy (7.4, up 12%) and Family Feud (2.7, up 17%).
Looking less lively were talk strips Montel (2.3, down 15%) and Rosie (2.1, down 7%), which both hit all-time lows. Montel had to deal with sports-related pre-emptions in 54 different markets.
- Susanne Ault