Steady as She Goes for Syndie Shows

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Syndie ratings were essentially flat for the week ending April 25, the last full week before the start of May sweeps. Average viewing was down 233,000 households, or about 1% from the prior week.

The only strip to increase more than 15% for the week was Twentieth's rookie On Air With Ryan Seacrest, up 22% to a 1.1, after an appearance by Barry Manilow, who just happened to be the guest artist on American Idol, which is hosted by Seacrest. The April 22 Manilow episode, which included a duet with American Idol cast-off Jennifer Hudson, fueled a 29% increase among women 18-34 to a 0.9 demo rating.

Although Seacrest was the only rookie to show improvement this week, Warner Bros.' The Ellen DeGeneres Show had no trouble making it 25 weeks in a row as the number-one new first-run strip, with a 1.8, even with the prior week.

As for the remaining newcomers, NBC Enterprises' Starting Over was flat with a 1.1, tying Seacrest for second place. Both Warner Bros.' Sharon Osbourne, which is not returning next season, and King World's Living It Up! With Ali & Jack, which is also not returning, were flat at a 1.0.

Elsewhere, Buena Vista's Live with Regis and Kelly was the only talk show other than Seacrest to increase week-to-week, gaining 3% to a 3.5 for third place. Three talkers were down and 10 were unchanged. King World's Oprah, the leader, was down 4% to a 6.6. King World's Dr. Phil was steady at a 5.1.

In courtroom action, Paramount's Judge Joe Brown was up for the third time in the past four weeks after recently getting a second run in Los Angeles and upgrades in Cleveland and Cincinnati. For the week, it gained 3% to a second-place 3.6. Paramount's top court show, Judge Judy, dipped 2% to a 4.8.

Among late-night relationship strips, Universal's Blind Date was number one for the fourth straight week, gaining 7% to a 1.5. Warner Bros.' Elimi-Date was unchanged at a 1.3. Right behind, at 1.2, was Universal's Fifth Wheel, up 9%. Twentieth's Ex-Treme Dating was last at a 1.0.

In access, Paramount's Entertainment Tonight led the magazines with a 5.2, unchanged from the prior week. King World's Inside Edition also was unchanged at a 3.4. NBC Enterprises' Access Hollywood was down 3% to a 2.8. Warner Bros.' Extra! was down 8% to a 2.4.

Sony's Seinfeld topped the sitcoms with a 5.9, down 2%. King World's Wheel of Fortune ruled the game shows with an 8.2, down 5%.