Syndie Shows on Holiday High

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Christmas came right on time for some syndie shows, which hit new season highs for the week ending Dec. 26.

Five talk shows celebrated the holidays with season-best performances--Buena Vista’s Live with Regis and Kelly, NBC Universal’s Maury, Paramount’s Montel Williams, NBC Universal’s Jane Pauley and Sony’s Life & Style.

Regis and Kelly, the third-highest-rated talker, jumped 11% from the week before to a 4.0 and was one of the few shows to score well on Christmas Eve. In fact, the show averaged a 4.5, its best single-day rating of the season. Regis and Kelly hosted a Christmas Eve pajama party with a winter wonderland set, ice-skating extravaganza and a bevy of young performers. In the past two weeks, the show's ratings have risen 18%.

Maury was up 7% to a 3.2 and up 14% over the past two weeks.

Montel, despite airing a couple of repeats, was up 4% for the week to a 2.6 and up 13% in the past two weeks, hitting a new daily high 3.1 on Dec 22. Among the rookies, Jane Pauley was up 21% to a 1.7.

Meanwhile, King World’s top gabber Oprah was unchanged at a 6.6, but up 14% compared to the same week last year. King World’s Dr. Phil, in second place, declined for the fourth week in a row, down 8% to a new season low of 4.7. Compared to this week last year, though, the show is up 15%. Both Oprah and Phil were mostly in repeats over the holidays

Compared to last year at this time, the only talkers to show gains of more than 20% were Warner Bros.’ The Ellen DeGeneres Show, up 38% to a 2.2, and NBC Universal’s Starting Over was up 22% to a 1.1. Both shows were in repeats for the week.

Elsewhere in daytime, four court shows also notched new season highs, led by Paramount’s Judge Judy, which has been the number-one court for more than eight years.

Judy was up 2% to a 5.3 and up 10% from last year. Also setting new personal bests were Twentieth’s Divorce Court at a 3.0, up 11% week to week and year to year, and Twentieth’s Texas Justice, up 16% on the week and unchanged from last year. Sony’s Judge Hatchett was up 18% for the week and even with last year. The only court show with a 20% improvement over last year was Warner Bros.’ Judge Greg Mathis at a 2.4.

In first-run rookies, Paramount’s The Insider was down 4% to a 2.5, but was the highest-rated newcomer for the 15th straight week. In third place, following Jane, Buena Vista’s Tony Danza climbed 8% to a 1.4. Twentieth’s Ambush Makeover spiked 33% to a 1.2, Warner Bros.’ The Larry Elder Show rose 11% to a 1.0, and Sony’s Pat Croce: Moving In jumped 14% to a 0.8.

By comparison, none of the off-net rookies were up. Twentieth’s Malcolm in the Middle was down 6% to a 3.3. NBC Universal’s Fear Factor and Twentieth’s Yes Dear were both unchanged at 1.9, while Paramount’s Girlfriends was down 6% to a 1.6. King World’s weekly CSI was down 2% to a still-strong 5.2.

In access, King World’s Jeopardy!, in its third week since star contestant Ken Jennings lost, slipped 5% to a 7.2, bringing its total decline over the past three weeks to 22%. The show was still up 16% over last year at this time.