Although it feels like syndication is having a better year in 2002 than it did after 9/11 last year, many syndicated shows were down year-to-year after November sweeps, and analysts say that may be because, finally, viewers are now less fearful about going out.
So-called HUT (households using television) and PUT (people using television) levels were down 2% to 6% from a year ago, when many people were staying inside, afraid of anthrax and more terror attacks.
Among the veteran talk shows, only King World's Oprah
managed to show year-to-year growth, posting a 9% increase from last November.
Among talk shows, King World's rookie Dr. Phil
was second, posting a 4.3 rating. In the last week of November, Dr. Phil
scored a 5.0 in Nielsens, the show's highest rating to date and up 16% over the prior week.
The rest of the top talkers had a tougher time: Buena Vista Television's Live With Regis & Kelly, (3.5, down 10%); Universal's Maury
(3.2, flat); Universal's
The Jerry Springer Show
(2.7, down 7%); Paramount's Montel Williams
(2.6, down 7%) joined Warner Bros.'The Jenny Jones Show
and Sony's The Ricki Lake Show, which were both down 16% to a 1.6.
Among game shows, the only one that wasn't down was Warner Bros.'Elimidate, up 21% to a 1.7 in its second season. King World's Wheel of Fortune
remained atop the pack with a 9.5, two full points above its closest contender, Jeopardy, also from King World. Still, Wheel
was down 5% sweep-to-sweep, while Jeopardy
was down 11% to a 7.5. Buena Vista's rookie Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
was third with a 2.8 average. The rest had fairly unimpressive numbers.
Among other rookies, Warner Bros.'Celebrity Justice
averaged a 1.3 in its first sweep despite being cleared mostly in late-night slots. NBC's The John Walsh Show, which the NBC owned-and-operated and Hearst-Argyle stations have renewed for another season, also averaged a 1.3. Warner Bros.'Caroline Rhea, also cleared mostly in late night, scored a 1.1, as did Twentieth talker The Rob Nelson Show. Tribune's Beyond With James Van Praagh
averaged a 1.0, and Paramount's Life Moments