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Shuttle Tragedy Hurts Weeklies

Ratings for weekly syndicated hours were down in the week ended Feb. 2, which included the first weekend of February sweeps. To be blamed, mainly, are preemptions by news coverage of the loss of the space shuttle Columbia. Viewers switching to cable news networks to keep up with news of the tragedy also cut into the ratings for the weekly hours. As a result, four of the top 12 weekly hours were off by double digits from levels already reduced by Super Bowl preemptions on Jan. 26.

Paramount's ET Weekend
was down 12% to a 3.6, although it remained the top weekly hour. Tribune's Stargate SG1
was down 19% to a 2.1 for a fifth-place tie with Tribune's Mutant X, itself down 9%. Twentieth's Buffy
was down 25% to a 1.8, tying for 11th place with NBC's rookie She Spies, which was down 10%.

Little Change in Strips' Ratings

In the first few days of February sweeps, most strips were little changed from the week ended Jan. 26, when they benefited from the Martin Luther King holiday and cold weather.

In the week ended Feb. 2, households-using-television (HUT) levels were down between 5% and 31%. The top game show, King World's Wheel of Fortune, was up 1% to a new season high of 10.3, the only game to improve. Warner Bros.'Friends
was the top off-net sitcom, down 1% to a 7.8; none of the top-10 off-net sitcoms showed an increase. Paramount's ET
remained the top mag, despite a 2% decline to a 6.3. King World's The Oprah Winfrey Show, the top talker, was up 4% to a 5.8. Paramount's top court show, Judge Judy, was down 3% to a 5.7. King World's Dr. Phil was the top rookie at a 5.2, down 4%. Newcomer Good Day Live, from Twentieth, was down 10% to a 0.9 in its fourth week in national syndication.

Walsh and Celebrity Team Up

In an unusual example of cooperation between studios, NBC Enterprises' The John Walsh Show
joins with Telepictures' Celebrity Justice
on today in presenting a special episode about celebrities and the legal system. During Monday's episode of John Walsh, Celebrity Justice
reporter Carlos Diaz shares his exclusive interview with Whitney Houston's father, who had been suing his famous daughter for $100 million before he passed away recently.

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