Martha: Sew-Sew

Tyra Banks struts a little

Unlike in previous years, when competitors smelled blood in the water for new shows after a few days of ratings, the start of this syndication season was refreshingly absent of declarations of early demise.

Last week, NBC Universal's highly anticipated Martha produced mixed results. It averaged a 2.3 rating/8 share Monday-Wednesday, up from its 2.0/7 lead-in and 1.7/6 a year earlier when the low-rated Jane Pauley Show aired in the time period in many markets. It also held up well in demo comparisons with September 2004, improving 38% in the women 25-54 demo and 29% in women 18-49.

But its ratings fell daily, from 2.4/8 Monday to 2.1/7 Wednesday. Still, the Mark Burnett-produced talk show with Martha Stewart was able to stay ahead of its lead-in average all three days.

Telepictures' The Tyra Banks Show averaged a 1.3/4, down from its 1.6/5 lead-in and year-ago averages. But it posted the highest daytime or early-fringe numbers of any show on WWOR New York or KCOP Los Angeles. In the elusive women 18-34 demo, Banks was up 100% from a year ago, to a 0.8/5 from a 0.4/3, and 75% in women 18-49, from a 0.42 to a 0.74.

The women face off in prime time starting this Wednesday, when Stewart's The Apprentice on NBC and Banks' America's Next Top Model on UPN go head to head.

Otherwise, Twentieth TV's latest court strip, Judge Alex, averaged a 1.7/5 for all runs, on par with its 1.7/6 lead-in and up from its 1.5/5 year-ago average.

Of two new off-net sitcoms, Twentieth's Bernie Mac was at 1.6/3, down from the 1.9/4 lead-in and year-ago marks. Buena Vista's My Wife and Kids garnered a 1.5/3, matching its lead-in and down from 1.7/4 last September.

The Tony Danza Show, Buena Vista TV's returning sophomore talker, averaged a 1.3/5, off from the 1.8/7 lead-in and 1.7/6 time-period average a year ago. It lagged in the top three markets, but on KCAL Los Angeles and WMAQ Chicago, its lead-ins were low-rated infomercials.