Margolis hits the beach


So how much of a splash did the late-night beach party series The Cindy Margolis Show make in its debut? depends on whom you ask.

King World, Cindy Margolis' distributor, hyped the fact that the show's premiere racked up double-digit ratings gains on such top-market stations as co-owned WCBS-TV New York and KCBS-TV Los Angeles. Compared to last month's similar time frame, WCBS-TV shot up 100% to a 1.4 rating/5 share average of the metered markets, and KCBS-TV (1.4/5) was up 50%, according to Nielsen Media Research. But the more typical comparison is year to year.

By that measure, the late night weekend-only series averaged a 1.3/4 over all 45 metered markets where it currently airs, down 7% from those stations' August 1999 time period averages.

The show, starring the Internet's best known bikini-loving babe, was down from its average lead-in rating (1.85) by 38%.

With all that said, however, "it's a little too soon to tell," acknowledges Katz TV's Bill Carroll. "One night does not indicate the overall trend of a show."

Carroll also pointed out that "it's not surprising for ratings attrition as you get later into the night. Conan O'Brien is lower than Jay Leno, but by most accounts, Conan is considered successful."

Cindy did top the premiere of Studios USA's relationship/game hybrid, Lover or Loser. Airing in various time periods in 22 metered markets, the show pulled an average .05 rating/1 share, a 44% drop from those stations' performance this time last year, according to Nielsen Media Research.

But Lover or Loser played well in certain cities. For instance, on WSOC-TV Charlotte, N.C., the show's 2.3/13 was good enough for first in its time slot, topping such competitors as Conan O'Brien, Queen Latifah and Access Hollywood.

Next out of the blocks: Twentieth Television's court entry, Power of Attorney, which debuts Aug. 28.