Sharon 's Debut Tops Syndie Rookies

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Warner Bros.' The Sharon Osbourne Show
finished her debut week as this season's top-rated rookie, according to Nielsen Media Research's national ratings in the week ending Sept. 21.

Sharon
opened with a 1.5 in 97% of the United States, while King World Productions' Living It Up! with Ali & Jack
premiered at a 1.0 in 93% of the country.

So far this season, Sharon
and Warner Bros.' The Ellen DeGeneres Show
are the two highest-rated new first-run strips, with Ellen
moving up 7% in its second week to tie Sharon
at 1.5.

Buena Vista Television's The Wayne Brady Show
jumped 22% in its third week of national syndication to a 1.1, while NBC Enterprises' Starting Over
picked up 13% to 0.9 in its second week.

Sony Pictures Television's The King of Queens
topped the four new off-net sitcoms to debut in the week, launching with a 2.4 in 92% of the country.

Paramount Domestic Television's Becker
ran second with a 1.8 in 97% of the United States, followed by Sony's Ripley's Believe It or Not
with a 1.1 in 82% of the country and Paramount's The Parkers
at a 0.9 in 77% of the United States.

Three established shows saw big jumps in their season premieres.

King World's Oprah
kicked off her 18th season with a 7.1, up 18% from last year.
King World's Dr. Phil
made its second-season debut at a 5.2, also up 18% from last year's premiere.
And Buena Vista's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire
shot up 29% over last year's premiere, opening at a 3.1.

Overall average viewing was up by more than 1 million households from the prior week with most shows having launched their new seasons.

The gain represents about a 6% increase and came despite the negative effects of Hurricane Isabel, which caused coverage pre-emptions and major power outages in the mid-Atlantic states, all of which still have not been completely restored.

Three of the top four magazines and all of the top-four talkers were higher.

Paramount's Entertainment Tonight
, the No. 1 mag for a 375th straight week, was up 8% to 5.4.
NBC Enterprises's Access Hollywood
, in third place, also gained 8% to 2.8, and Warner Bros.' Extra
was up 14% to 2.4.
In second place, King World's Inside Edition
was unchanged at 3.4.

In talk, after Oprah
, up 27% week-to-week, and Dr. Phil
, up 13% week-to-week, came Buena Vista's Live with Regis & Kelly
, up 9% to 3.5.

Universal Television's Maury
, up 12% to 2.8, came in fourth after taking third place for most of the summer.

In the tightest race of the week, the top off-net sitcoms were in a three-way tie, with Warner Bros.' Friends
, Sony's Seinfeld
and King World's Everybody Loves Raymond
all scoring 5.7.

Friends
was down 5% from the previous week, while Seinfeld
and Raymond
were unchanged.

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