Regis and Kelly only talker on the rise

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Live with Regis and Kelly was one of the few daytime strips, talk and court shows included, that posted any growth during last February sweeps over the same time last year.

Compared to Live's 4.2 household rating, an 11% hike from February 2000, four talk series and four court efforts dropped by double digits for that frame, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Among those on that decline were Jerry Springer (3.8, down 16%), Rosie (3.1, down 21%), Sally (2.4, down 25%) and Jenny (2.3, down 12%). Hardest hit court shows were Judge Judy (6.4, down 15%), Judge Joe Brown (3.9, down 11%), People's Court (1.9, down 32%) and Judge Mills Lane (1.8, down 25%).

Among the rest, other talkers including leader Oprah (6.6, down 6%), Maury (3.7, down 5%), Montel (3.5, down 5%), Ricki (2.6, down 4%) and Martha Stewart (1.5, down 6%) all fell from February of last year.

The same goes for other court series Divorce Court (3.1, down 6%) and Judge Greg Mathis (2.2, down 8%). Still in last place for the talk veterans, but up over last year was Queen Latifah (1.4, up 8%).

Elsewhere in syndication, the rookie first-run sweeps race was especially heated, considering some efforts like Curtis Court (1.7), Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus (0.7) and Arrest and Trial (1.8) are officially without top market renewals. But those three, along with the bulk of the freshman efforts, posted arguably weak below-2.0 scores. Top rookie marks went to Power of Attorney (2.4) and Judge Hatchett (2.2). They were followed by Street Smarts (1.9), To Tell the Truth (1.8), Dr. Laura (0.9) and Sex Wars (0.6).

Looking at game and relationship series, Family Feud (2.7, up 13%) and Blind Date (2.2, up 16%) were definite stand-outs. Wheel of Fortune (11.0, down 8%), Jeopardy (9.1, down 9%), Hollywood Squares (3.9, down 15%) and Change of Heart (2.0, down 13%) were all off-track from the same time last year.

Top off-net efforts Friends (6.2, down 7%), Seinfeld (5.3, down 16%) and Frasier (5.0, down 11%) also lost some ground. Best freshmen off-net sitcoms were Spin City (2.8), Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (1.9) and Suddenly Susan (1.7).
- Susanne Ault

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