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Starting Over Gets a Producer

Jim Johnston was named day-to-day producer on NBC Enterprises' new syndicated reality show Starting Over. The show has been cleared in more than 84% of the country for the 2003-04 season, NBC says, and has been sold in 47 of the top 50 markets.

Starting Over, about women facing new challenges in life, is from Bunim-Murray Productions, which also produces MTV's Real World and Road Rules. Johnston has worked with Bunim-Murray before, serving as producer for The Real World—Boston and the original story editor on Road Rules. Most recently, he has been nominated for two Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Children's Series and Special as senior producer of PBS's Zoom.

Ripa Return Boosts Regis and Kelly

The return of Kelly Ripa from maternity leave to Buena Vista's Live With Regis and Kelly
drove the show to a 4.1 national household rating, a 28% week-to-week gain, and a 17% jump over last year in the first week of the May sweeps. In all, seven of the 13 talk shows were up, five were flat and only one fell.

The other talk winners were King World's Oprah Winfrey Show, which was up 18% to 5.9. Second place went to King World's Dr. Phil, which was up 7% to 4.8, followed by Universal's Maury, up 3% to 3.2. Universal's Jerry Springer Show
increased 9% to 2.4. NBC Enterprises' John Walsh Show
increased 17% to 1.4, and Universal's Crossing Over With John Edward
was up 9% to 1.2. The lone talker to decline was Warner Bros.'Jenny Jones, down 11% to 1.6.

Among off-net sitcoms, Warner Bros.' Friends
regained the lead with a 10% increase to 6.6, while King World's Everybody Loves Raymond
was also up 10%, to a 6.4. That left Sony's Seinfeld
in third place for the first time in six months, flat at 6.3.

Conan Reruns Stay on Comedy Central

NBC Enterprises will continue to repurpose Late Night With Conan O'Brien on cable's Comedy Central through next year, NBC said. NBC Enterprises and Comedy Central have signed a one-year contract to extend the deal. Late Night airs on NBC at 12:35 p.m. Monday through Friday and then re-airs on Comedy Central in the early evening the next day.

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