Ripa's return gives life to Live


Viewers gave a hearty welcome back to Kelly Ripa, whose return from maternity
leave boosted her show's ratings for the week ending July 22.

Live with Regis and Kelly earned a 4.1 Nielsen Media Research household
score, a 21 percent jump from last period and the strip's best performance in 17
weeks. Also positive, Live topped its showing from last year at this time
-- when Kathie Lee Gifford was co-host -- by 14 percent.

Other talk strips looked strong, as well, with several improving by double
digits. Oprah (5.9, up 4 percent) led the pack, followed by Jerry
(3.6, up 6 percent), Maury (3.6, up 6 percent), Montel (2.9,
up 26 percent, recovering from last week's sports pre-emptions) and Ricki
(2.5, up 14 percent). Jenny (2.4, up 9 percent), Rosie (2.3, up 10
percent), Sally (2.1, down 5 percent) and Martha (1.5, up 15
percent) rounded out the group.

Court strips stayed steady or gained ground, with No. 1 Judge Judy
(5.3, down 5 percent) the only one to drop off slightly. Rookie Power of
(1.9, up 19 percent) earned its best numbers in six weeks. Judge
Joe Brown
(3.3, up 3 percent), Divorce Court (2.5, up 9 percent),
Judge Greg Mathis (1.9, flat), Judge Hatchett (1.8, up 6 percent)
and People's Court (1.8, flat) filled out the rest.

Blind Date (2.3, flat) continued to top its dating rival, Change of
(1.9, up 6 percent).

Entertainment Tonight Weekend (3.4, up 10 percent) headed up all weekly
efforts, followed by TheX-Files (3.2, up 3 percent), ER
(3.0, up 3 percent) and Stargate SG-1 (2.7, up 8