'Raymond’ Clicks on TBS

Sitcom holds its own in local markets
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King World’s Everybody Loves Raymond continues to live up to its name. Once the show was added to TBS’ lineup, it added a ratings point to its off-net syndie lead.

While Raymond’s performance on TBS is flat compared with last year, when Warner Bros.’ Friends and Sony’s Seinfeld filled Raymond’s spots, the cable pick-up has boosted Raymond’s fortunes. The show is notching a 6.4 household rating season-to-date, a 14% jump. “Raymond has been helped by the TBS run,” says Moira Coffey, senior vice president of research for King World. “But we’re also holding our own as far as the local markets are concerned.”

Steve Koondel, executive vice president and chief operating officer of TBS and TNT, says he’s satisfied with Raymond. Turner is experienced enough with syndies, he adds, to know it takes time to build a following: “Raymond replaced shows that had been in the block for three years.”

Also helping Raymond is timing.

The CBS show is in its last season. Sony’s Seinfeld departed NBC in 1998, and Warner Bros.’ Friends wrapped up last year. The two aging sitcoms still rack up big numbers on the syndie board, running neck and neck at a 5.3 each season-to-date. But while Raymond’s star is on the rise, Seinfeld and Friends are down year-to-year: Seinfeld has dropped 9% in households, Friends 10%.

Where Raymond falters is in demos, appealing more to older viewers. The show scores 3.4 among adults 18-34, a 3.7 in 18-49s and a 3.9 in 25-54s. By contrast, Friends is almost an entire ratings point less among households but keeps pace in key demos: 3.8 among 18-34s (highest in this demo among all the off-net sitcoms), 3.6 among 18-49s and 3.4 among 25-54s.

Flexing its demo muscle means Friends earns the most for a 30-second commercial, at $229,866. Seinfeld comes in second at $173,028, while Raymond is third at $108,553, per Nielsen Monitor Plus.

After the big three, the off-net sitcoms drop off in ratings, with Warner Bros.’ Will & Grace leading the second-tier shows with a 3.0 in households. Twentieth’s rookie Malcolm in the Middle is holding its own with a 2.9 and growing, followed closely by Carsey-Werner’s That ’70s Show at a 2.9. Paramount’s Girlfriends and Twentieth’s Yes, Dear bring up the rear with a 1.6 and 1.5, respectively.

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