Riding The Sweep's Coattails

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Buoyed by the first two days of the May sweeps, with its heavily promoted original programming, talk and newsmagazine programs prospered the most among syndicated shows, posting double-digit week-to-week gains, according to Nielsen ratings for the week ended May 1.

It was a different story in year-to-year comparisons for news and entertainment magazines, which continued to see slight to mild losses. (The same could not be said of King World's top-rated access series Wheel of Fortune, which held even with last year at an 8.4 rating.) One striking development: Paramount's The Insider, pending the return of co-host Pat O'Brien, posted the largest increase among the entertainment magazines for the week, climbing 13% (to a 2.6), and 17% to a 1.4 in women 18-49. Paramount's Entertainment Tonight, long the genre leader, improved 11% to 5.0 for the week but fell 4% for the year. King World's Inside Edition suffered the least year-to-year erosion of any magazine show, registering a 3% drop. (It was up 6% for the week to a 3.3.)

The four talk shows with the biggest week-to-week increases: Telepictures' Ellen DeGeneres Show, jumping 18% to a 2.0 rating and improving 5% from the previous year; Paramount's Montel Williams Show (2.5 rating), up 14% (4% for the year-ago comparison); NBC Universal's Jerry Springer Show (2.4) up 14% (9% from the previous year); and King World's Dr. Phil (5.7), up 10% (6% year-to-year).

King World's talk-show leader, The Oprah Winfrey Show (7.4), continued to show amazing strength, gaining 6% for the week and 14% for the year, while leading all syndicated programs for the week in women 18-49 and 25-54.