It was a mad, mad, mad world of syndication during the week ended March 18.
The March Madness started with the early rounds of the college basketball championship tournament, which on March 15 and 16 preempted a multitude of daytime syndicated programming on CBS affiliates.
Combined with the early onset of Daylight-Saving Time, which began March 11, and many colleges starting their spring breaks, viewing during the week plunged by 800,000 viewers. And that came on top of the loss of another 2.8 million over the previous two weeks.
Only three first-run strips, all talk shows, improved during the week, starting with Buena Vista Television’s Live With Regis and Kelly. It rose 6% to a 3.5 rating after the 75-year-old co-host made his surprise announcement on March 12 that he would have heart bypass surgery.
That episode averaged more than 4 million households, versus 3.7 million the rest of the week if the Monday telecast is not included in the average.
Warner Bros.’ Ellen, meanwhile, jumped 10% to 2.2, boosted by a March 16 episode featuring celebrities from ABC’s Dancing With the Stars. It garnered a 2.4 rating.
And NBC Universal’s Martha Stewart grew 8% to 1.4 thanks to a St. Patrick’s Day celebration episode that earned a 1.6, its highest number since sweeps.