Ratings Benefit From Gibson Tirade


In the latest anticipated twist on Mel Gibson’s drunken, anti-Semitic tirade, four of the five major syndication TV entertainment and news magazines benefited from extensive coverage of the arrest and fallout during the week ended Aug. 6.

The scandal brought further gains to a genre that has generally performed well all season.

King World’s news-oriented Inside Edition got the biggest shot of ratings adrenalin from the “Mad Mel” saga, climbing 13% for the week and 21% from the same week a year ago to finish at a 3.5 national syndication barter rating.

It moved up to second-place in the pack behind CBS Paramount’s perennial frontrunner, Entertainment Tonight. The program achieved its best mark in five weeks, since the controversy surrounding Star Jones’ exit from The View, at a 4.6 rating. That was up 5% for the week and 10% for the year, with ET ranking fifth among all shows in syndication—an improvement over its normal top-10 performance.

Companion The Insider scored a 2.5, rising 4% for the week and year, while NBC Universal’s Access Hollywood—which provided the least amount of nightly coverage to the Gibson mess—dropping for the week, down 4% to 2.2, which was still 5% better than the previous year.

Telepictures’ Extra, under the same corporate umbrella as TMZ.com, the website credited with breaking the scandal, benefited by coming within an inch of Access. It posted an 11% weekly increase to 2.1, even with a year ago.

Elsewhere, the landscape was mixed. Standouts included King World’s talker Dr. Phil (up 5% for the week and 10% for the year to 4.5) and two court shows: Warner Bros.’ People’s Court (flat at 2.7 but up 8% over last year) and Twentieth TV’s Divorce Court (its 2.6 was 8% higher for the week and 4% for the year).