One Rocky Start

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Syndication's last two weeks were a challenge. They included the launch of NBC Universal's The Jane Pauley Show, the second season premiere of Warner Bros.' The Ellen DeGeneres Show
and the 16th-season opener of Buena Vista's Live With Regis and Kelly.

Then nature—and the Republicans—intervened.

Florida stations either failed to report ratings or preempted daytime shows for coverage of Hurricane Frances. The GOP convention and cable news networks dominated New York coverage, throwing a wrench into TV there. Plus, on Sept. 1, Nielsen began using people-meter technology to measure TV ratings in New York, which represents almost 10% of the country. The change to LPM may be taking a bite out of ratings.

Still, Jane Pauley
had two good Mondays in a row, though it has been a bumpy ride. After kicking off with 2.4 rating/7 share in the primary-run, weighted metered markets, according to Nielsen, the show averaged a 1.8/5 in its first week. Labor Day saw another uptick to 2.1/5, but the next day, it dropped off to its lowest numbers yet: 1.5/4.

"Overall, we're pretty happy with Jane and the show itself," says Barry Wallach, president of NBC Universal Domestic Television. "Certainly, we are doing some tweaks. We haven't seen any celebrities on the show yet, but we'll start seeing some next week."

While the show is down vs. year-ago time periods—mostly The John Walsh Show
or Starting Over—stations say they want to wait for regular viewing patterns to settle in before judging the show's performance.

Meanwhile, Labor Day's higher viewing levels gave Ellen
a ratings boost. The show premiered at 3.3/7, up 65% from last year's premiere. By Tuesday, Ellen
had come back to earth a little, scoring 2.6/8, still up 38% from last year's number.

Also
last week, Live With Regis and Kelly
kicked off with a healthy two-day average, 4.1/12, up 5% from its year-ago time-period average and even with its average lead-in.

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