A number of long-running strips made strong showings for the week ending Apr. 19, the last full week of programming before May sweeps. Wheel of Fortune had the highest increase of all first place shows, rising 5% to a 6.9.
CTD's The Doctors opened up a significant lead among the rookies with an 11% increase to a 2.0. It was helped by a show featuring medical questions from viewers which sent ratings up 17% on Apr. 17. Second place Deal Or No Deal (NBCU) held steady at a 1.6. Warner Bros.' Bonnie Hunt, Sony's Judge Karen, and Debmar-Mercury's Trivial Pursuit were all flat at 0.9, 0.8 and 0.6 respectively. Program Partners' Family Court was up 25% to a 0.5.
Among the established talk shows, three were higher than the previous week. CBS Television Distribution's Oprah kept the lead and crept up 2% to a 4.7. CTD's Dr. Phil was second, up 3% to 3.1 after getting a 17% boost to a 3.5 on Apr. 13 with a show about two people who had serious doubts about remarrying each other. Disney/ABC's Live with Regis and Kelly took third with an unchanged 2.7. Warner Bros.' Ellen Degeneres gained 11 to 2.1. On Apr. 17 a performance by the Pussycat Dolls and a visit from Drew Barrymore sent ratings up 16%. CTD's Rachel Ray dipped 6% to 1.7. NBCU's Maury dropped 11% to 1.6. Warner Bros.' Tyra Banks and NBCU's Jerry Springer were each down 8% to 1.1. NBCU's Steve Wilkos and Twentieth's The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet were flat at 1.0 and 0.8 respectively. NBCU's Martha Stewart slipped 13% to 0.7.
In court, CTD's Judge Judy led the way with a 4.1, which was down 2% from the week before. CTD's Judge Joe Brown came up unchanged at 2.1. Warner Bros.' People's Court was up 6% to a 1.9. Warner Bros.' Judge Mathis and Twentieth's Judge Alex both recovered from hitting season lows in the prior week with Mathis gaining 14% to 1.6 and Alex adding 7% to 1.5. Twentieth's Divorce Court was unchanged at 1.3. Twentieth's Christina's Court was down 10% to 0.9. Sony's Judge David Young gained 14% to 0.8.
In access, CTD's Entertainment Tonight rose 3% to a 4.0. A show featuring the news of Mel Gibson's divorce sent ratings up 18% to a 4.6 on Apr. 13. CTD's Inside Edition was the only other magazine on the upswing gaining 7% to a 3.1. Warner Bros.' TMZ, NBCU's Access Hollywood and CTD's The Insider were flat at 2.2, 2.0, and 1.7, respectively. Warner Bros.' Extra fell 6% to 1.5.
Among game shows, CTD's Wheel of Fortune was up 5% to 6.9. CTD's Jeopardy! gained 4% to 5.8. Disney/ABC's Who Wants To Be A Millionaire grew 4% to 2.4. Debmary-Mercury's Family Feud was unchanged at 1.4.
In off-net sitcoms, Warner Bros.' Two and a Half Men was unchanged at 4.8. Twentieth's Family Guy was down 3% to 3.9. Sony's Seinfeld and CTD's Everybody Loves Raymond were flat at 3.5 and 2.9, respectively. Warner Bros.' George Lopez was down 6% to 2.9. Twentieth's King of the Hill was up 4% to 2.7. Sony's King of Queens dropped 4% to 2.4, tying Warner Bros.' Friends which was unchanged.
Elsewhere in syndication, the weekly action hour Legend of the Seeker was up 7% to 1.5. Off-cable Storm Stories gained 7% to 1.5. Off-TBS strip House of Payne was unchanged at 2.3.