Syndie Mags, Talkers Start Strong

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In the first full week of the sweeps, magazines and talk shows continued to perform well, while the game show category exhibited some signs of year-to-year erosion, even as the top-three shows in the genre hit season highs.

During the week ended Nov. 13, magazines showed no signs of cooling, led by Paramount’s Entertainment Tonight.

The program reached a season high 5.5 in the Nielsen national barter rankings. That was its best number since March 7, up 4% over the previous week’s season-high mark and even with a year ago.

ET was helped by an interview with Oprah Winfrey celebrating her 20th year of talk. The Nov. 10 segment attracted the show’s highest ratings of the week with a 5.7.

King World’s Inside Edition remained unchanged from a week earlier at 3.6, down 3% from the previous year. Paramount’s The Insider was even at a season high 2.9, but up 4% from a year ago.

NBC Universal’s Access Hollywood also hit a season high of 2.8, up 8% for the week and 4% for the year.

Helped by increased daytime viewing on Veteran’s Day, talk shows had a good week overall. Leader Oprah hit a season high 8.0, up 10% from a week earlier but down 7% from a year ago.

King World’s Dr. Phil was up 4% to a 5.5, but slipped 2% compared to last year, while Buena Vista Television’s Live with Regis & Kelly remained at a season high 3.6, even with the previous year.

NBCU’s Maury was up 7% to a new season high of 2.9, a 4% jump over last year, while Ellen hit a 2.4, matching her season high mark and up 4% for the week and 20% for the year.

BVT’s Tony Danza hit a new season high 1.2, helped by a Who’s the Boss reunion rating spike Nov. 8. That was up 9% from the previous week and a hopeful sign for a talk show that has been struggling this season, saddled with infomercial lead-ins in two of the top-three markets (Los Angeles and Chicago).

Of the top-three game shows, all hit season highs. King World’s top-rated Wheel of Fortune spun to an 8.7, up 5% for the week and down 9% for the year; the syndicator’s Jeopardy answered with a 6.6, a 5% gain for week but a 21% fall from contestant Ken Jennings appearance a year ago; and BVT’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (3.1) climbed 3% but dropped 9% from the year-ago week.

Of the rookies, Twentieth’s Judge Alex led once again with a 5% leap to 2.1 from 2.0, while NBCU’s Martha was up 6% to a 1.8 from 1.7, and, according to NBC Universal, tied its season high in women 25-54 and 18-49.

Telepictures’ Tyra Banks show averaged a 1.6, up 7% for the week. It got its best marks yet, leading the trio of rookies in all key women demos with high double-digit increases.