In its first week on the air, Disney-ABC’s Legend of the Seeker scored a 2.9 live plus same day household rating, with more than 4.1 million viewers tuning in the for the fantasy hour’s two-hour premiere on Saturday, Nov. 1 and Sunday, Nov. 2. That’s 53% higher than the premiere rating of syndication’s last major first-run action hour, NBC’s She Spies, which debuted at a 1.9 in 2002.
The two highest-rated first-run rookie strips also boasted decent performances in the week ended Nov. 9, the first full week of the November sweeps. NBC Universal’s Deal or No Deal and CBS Television Distribution’s The Doctors each gained on the week, despite numerous preemptions for election coverage on Nov. 3, 4 and 5, which pushed numbers down for much of syndication.
Deal was up 6% to a 1.8, hitting a 2.0 on Nov. 3 and 5. The show also climbed 25% among women 18 to 49 and 10% among women 25 to 54, syndication’s two key demographics.
The Doctors jumped 7% to a new series high 1.6. On Nov. 5, The Doctors increased 13% to a 1.7 for an episode on ways to stave off aging. On Monday, Nov. 17, The Doctors hit a new series high 2.1 rating/6 share in the metered markets, up 17% from both its lead-in and year-ago time periods. At 9 a.m. on WCBS New York, The Doctors averaged a 2.7 rating/9 share, beating WNBC’s Today Show and coming in second only to WABC’s Live with Regis and Kelly. In that time period, The Doctors was up 50% from its lead-in and up 145% from year-ago time periods.
Those two shows were far ahead of the rookie pack. Sony’s Judge Karen, Warner Bros.’ Bonnie Hunt and Debmar-Mercury’s Trivial Pursuit: America Plays all were flat at a 0.9, 0.9 and 0.6, respectively. Program Partners’ Family Court with Judge Penny dropped 17% to a new series low 0.5.
Among the veteran talk shows, only three of the dozen were higher on the week. CTD’s Oprah and Dr. Phil each hit new season highs. Oprah, which did not count news-heavy Election Day in its weekly average, climbed 18% to a 5.9, hitting a 6.9 for a post-Election Day show on Wednesday, Nov. 5.
Dr. Phil managed to climb 6% to a 3.6 despite including Election Day in its average. Dr. Phil McGraw’s interview with Drew Peterson about his wife Stacey, who disappeared almost exactly one year ago, was the week’s biggest draw, sending ratings up 12% to a 3.8 on Nov. 3.
Twentieth’s The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet jumped 13% to a 0.9 with gains of 33% among women 18 to 34 and 25% among women 18 to 49.
In third place, Disney-ABC’s Live with Regis and Kelly dropped 7% to a 2.7. Warner Bros.‘ The Ellen DeGeneres Show, CTD’s Rachael Ray and NBC Universal’s Maury all were flat at a 2.4, 1.8 and 1.8, respectively. Ellen, however, was the only first-run strip to improve year to year, moving up 14%.
NBC U’s Jerry Springer and Warner Bros.’ Tyra Banks each were down 9% to a 1.0, tying NBC U’s Steve Wilkos, which was unchanged. NBC U’s Martha Stewart was unchanged at a 0.7.
Only Sony’s Judge David Young, in last place in the genre, managed to improve among the court shows, jumping 14% to a 0.8. CTD’s genre leader, Judge Judy, increased its lead on the field to a 105% advantage, while still dipping 4% to a 4.3. In second place, CTD’s Judge Joe Brown lost 9% to a 2.1. Warner Bros.’ People’s Court was flat at a 2.0, while Judge Mathis slipped 6% to a 1.7. Twentieth’s Judge Alex and Divorce Court each were flat at a 1.6 and 1.4, respectively, while Cristina’s Court fell 9% to a 1.0.
In access, CTD’s Entertainment Tonight held steady at its season high 4.4, while its weekend version, ET Weekend, improved 5% to hit a new season high 2.2. CTD’s Inside Edition dipped 3% to a 2.8. Warner Bros.’ TMZ fell 5% to a 2.0. CTD’s The Insider was flat at a 1.9, tying NBC U’s Access Hollywood, which slipped 10%. Warner Bros.’ Extra, which did not air in 10 or more big markets for half the week due to election coverage, lost 17% to a 1.5.
The games were all down or flat. CTD’s Wheel of Fortune fell 5% to a 6.9. CTD’s Jeopardy! slid 10% to a 5.6. Disney-ABC’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire dropped 4% to a 2.5. Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud was flat at a 1.5.
Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men extended its time at the top of its genre to 55 weeks, improving 2% to a 5.0. Besides Warner Bros.’ Friends, which gained 4% to a 2.6, the rest of the off-net sitcoms were down or flat. Twentieth’s Family Guy was unchanged at a 4.0. Sony’s Seinfeld slipped 6% to a 3.4. CTD’s Everybody Loves Raymond sagged 3% to a 3.0. Warner Bros.’ George Lopez tumbled 10% to a 2.8. Sony’s King of Queens fell 4% to a 2.4. And the rookie, Debmar-Mercury’s off-TBS sitcom House of Payne, was flat at a 2.1.