Post-sweeps letdown


Most syndicated series snoozed in the ratings for the week ended March 11, the first week after the February sweeps.

The healthiest of the syndicated series were the magazine shows. Three of the top magazines climbed from the previous week: Entertainment Tonight (6.8, up 8%), Inside Edition
(3.4, up 3%) and Extra (3.1, up 3%). Access Hollywood (2.6) and National Enquirer (1.2) stayed even.

"Original programming makes a big difference," observes Inside Edition Executive Producer Charles Lachman, noting the strip's content coup: During this ratings period, it secured exclusive video footage of weapons inside the home of Andy Williams, the alleged shooter at Santana High School, Santee, Calif. "That got us a lot of attention."

Marc Rosenweig, senior vice president of programming and production for Inside Edition distributor King World, concurs. "It makes you feel great when CBS Evening News, ABC's World News Tonight and NBC Nightly News are calling you looking for the material. That's when you know you have something special."

Among talk shows, only Live With Regis and Kelly
logged an increase, rising 5% to 4.4, a new season high. Oprah (6.4, flat) continued to lead, followed by Jerry (3.8, down 3%), Maury (3.4, down 8%) Montel (3.3, down 11%), Rosie (2.8, flat), Ricki (2.5, flat), Sally (2.5, flat), Jenny (2.1, down 5%), Martha (1.6, flat) and Queen Latifah (1.3, down 7%).

As for court shows, People's Court (1.9, up 12%) and Judge Mills Lane (1.7, up 6%) gained ground, while the big-league judges dozed on the bench: Judge Judy (6.3, flat), Judge Joe Brown (3.9, down 5%), Divorce Court (3.1, down 3%) and Judge Greg Mathis (2.2, down 4%).

Game/relationship shows were a mixed bunch. Evergreens Wheel of Fortune (11.1, up 2%) and Jeopardy (9.0, up 3%) lead the way, followed distantly by Hollywood Squares (3.7, flat), Family Feud (2.7, up 4%), Blind Date (1.9, down 17%) and Change of Heart (1.9, down 5%).