News drives syndie wins


Two first-run rookies were the big winners in the week ending March 16, the
second week after the end of the February sweep and the last full week prior to
the start of the war in Iraq.

NBC Enterprises' The John Walsh Show and Warner Bros.' Celebrity
both spiked on major stories.

Walsh was up 20 percent to a new season high of 1.8 fueled by coverage of
the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping case, which featured live appearances by Smart's
father and the couple who called police when they sighted Smart.

Celebrity Justice, which is cleared primarily in late-night slots, was up
17 percent to a 1.4, matching its highest rating to date. Celebrity
was boosted by coverage of one of the Dixie Chicks' negative
comments about President Bush, as well as the group's legal troubles.

In adults 18 through 49, Celebrity Justice finished third among the
new first-runs -- after King World Productions' Dr.Phil and Buena
Vista Television's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire -- with a 33 percent
increase to a 0.8. Walsh tied with Sony Pictures Television's
Pyramid for fourth with a 0.7 in the demo.

The other rookies saw little movement. Dr. Phil, the top newcomer in
first-run, was flat at a 5.3, with a 1.9 in adults 18 through 49.
Millionaire was second with a 3.4, down 3 percent, with a 1.1 in the

Elsewhere, three of the four magazines were up despite being pre-empted in
some markets for expanded newscasts as the U.S. got closer to war in Iraq.

Paramount Television's Entertainment Tonight was up 3 percent to a
6.1. NBC Enterprises' Access Hollywood was up 4 percent to a 2.8. Warner
Bros.' Extra! was up 8 percent to a 2.6.

The only magazine to decline was King World's Inside Edition, which
fell 3 percent to a 3.5 but remained in second place.

Also in access, Sony's Seinfeld had its first outright win in two
months in the off-net-sitcom race, although it has tied for the lead three
times. Seinfeld was down 3 percent to a 7.2, while Warner Bros.'
Friends slipped 4 percent to a 7.1.

Also moving lower was No. 3 sitcom King World's Everybody LovesRaymond, which fell 10 percent to a 6.3. Warner Bros. rookie Will
& Grace
was down 7 percent to a 4.1.

In the talk-show race, Buena Vista's Live with Regis and Kelly wasn't
so live, going into repeats and having the biggest decline in daytime, dropping
16 percent to a 3.2. That allowed Universal Television's Maury to beat it
for third place.

Top talker Oprah was up 3 percent to a 6.2, followed by Dr.
's 5.3 and Maury, up 9 percent to a 3.5.

In court action, Paramount's Judge Judy was down 2 percent to 5.3,
while the syndicator's Judge JoeBrown was down 3 percent to 3.5
and Twentieth's Divorce Court was flat at a 3.1.