Syndie ratings melt in summer swelter


A summer heat wave hit the nation the week ending Aug. 12, coinciding with sluggish performances from most syndicated series.

Among talk shows, just one out of the 10 veteran yakkers gained ground from last ratings period, most likely due to viewers escaping to beaches, pools and/or air conditioned shopping malls.

Except for a rising Montel, scoring a 2.9 Nielsen household rating, up 4% from last week, others were down or flat. That included leader Oprah (5.6, flat), Live with Regis and Kelly (3.6, down 5%), Jerry Springer (3.6, down 3%), Maury (3.3, down 6%), Ricki (2.4, flat), Jenny (2.2, down 4%), Sally (2.2, flat) and Rosie (2.1, equaling her season low, down 5%). Also, most of this pack was well off-track from this time last year - slipping farthest were Sally (down 29%), Jenny (down 19%), Rosie (down 13%), Maury (down 13%) and Ricki (down 11%).

Court shows fared somewhat better, with three of the seven improving this week vs. last. Following Judge Judy (5.5, up 4%), was Judge Joe Brown (3.3, down 3%), Divorce Court (2.7, up 4%), Power of Attorney (1.9, up 6%), Judge Greg Mathis (1.8, down 10%), People's Court (1.8, down 5%) and Judge Hatchett (1.8, flat).

Elsewhere X-Files (3.3, up 18% for the week) was the top weekly hour. Friends (4.9, up 2%) was the top off-net sitcom. Entertainment Tonight (5.5, flat) was king of the magazines. Wheel of Fortune (8.2, down 1%) beat out other game efforts as usual.
- Susanne Ault