Oprah Cooks With Frey


Oprah Winfrey’s tongue-lashing of  Million Little Pieces author James Frey Jan. 26 averaged a 7.5 rating, tying another of her shows that week about sons confronting their convicted bank robber dad.

The two episodes were the highest rated for King World’s and the genre's leading talk show during the week ended Jan. 29, according to the Nielsen’s national live-plus-same-day ratings.

Oprah averaged a 7.3 for the full pre-sweeps week, down 8% from the prior week and off 5% from the previous year.

The highly publicized Frey episode, in which Winfrey rebuked the author for fictitious passages in the book she had initially endorsed, slightly outpaced the bank robber dad episode in terms of viewers (about 50,000 more).

Overall, most syndicated series were slightly lower, with viewing levels off by about 3 million from the previous week. The drop can be attributed in part to mild weather in the Northeast and preemptions for a presidential news conference the morning of Jan. 26.

None of the 11 daytime talk programs improved. NBC Universal’s Jerry Springer (2.2) dropped 4% for the week and year, but passed Paramount’s Montel Williams (down 8% for the week and 22% for the year to 2.1) to move into sixth place for the first time since the week of Dec. 12, 2005.

Elsewhere, NBC U’s Starting Over, whose future has yet to be decided, earned a season-high 1.2 for the second consecutive week. Telepictures’ Ellen (up 4% from a year ago to 2.5) and NBC U’s rookie Martha (1.8) also remained unchanged.

Paramount’s Dr. Phil at 5.3 was down 4% week and flat year-to-year, while Buena Vista Television’s Live with Regis & Kelly, in reruns part of the week, dropped 6% for the week and year to a 3.4.

NBC U’s Maury posted the biggest week-to-week decline of any talker, down 12% to a 2.9, off 6% from last year.

BVT’s Tony Danza, at a 1.2, was down 8% from a season high a week earlier and off 14% from a year ago. Its status for a third season remains up in the air.

Telepictures’ rookie talker Tyra Banks slipped 6% to a 1.6, beating Martha in the key demos.

Twentieth TV’s Judge Alex, another freshman, was down 4% to a 2.3 for the week.

In other daytime court action, Paramount’s two market leaders remained Judge Judy (5.1), up 2% for the week but down 6% from a year ago, and Judge Joe Brown (3.4), flat for the week and down 8% from a year ago. The remainder of the returning court shows either held steady or improved year-to-year.