National syndicated ratings for the week ending Sept. 5 fell between seasons for most shows. Although the 2003-04 syndication season ended Aug. 29, the new season for most shows didn’t begin until Sept. 13.
The only new show that did launch was NBC Universal’s high-profile The Jane Pauley Show, which began Aug. 30 and averaged a 1.6 rating nationally for its premiere week.
Of the three talk shows to debut in late August in the last three years, Pauley’s debut was in the middle, higher than Iyanla’s 1.2, but well below Crossing Over with John Edward’s 2.1, both in 2001. Neither of those shows is on the air today.
Pauley’s 1.6 fell behind six established talkers, none of which had started their new seasons. King World’s Dr. Phil had the biggest increase, jumping 18% to a 3.9. King World’s Oprah Winfrey Show, the top talker, was down 2% to a 5.8. In third place, Buena Vista’s Live with Regis and Kelly dipped 2% to a 3.8, followed by NBC Universal’s Maury, up 4% to a 2.7. Paramount’s Montel Williams was unchanged at a 2.1, as was NBC Universal’s Jerry Springer at a 1.9.
Also in daytime, Paramount’s Judge Joe Brown had the biggest increase among the court shows, climbing 7% to a 3.1. Paramount’s top jurist, Judge Judy, led the gavelers with a 4.2, down 2%, while Twentieth’s Divorce Court was up 4% to a 2.6 in third.
Elsewhere, most shows were lower as the number of homes using television (HUT) slipped and many shows were preempted in some markets by hurricane coverage and the Republican National Convention.
Things were back to normal by the weekend, with weekly hours recovering after getting crushed by the Olympics the prior week.
Paramount’s Entertainment Tonight Weekend, the number-one weekly hour, was up 18% to a 2.6. MGM’s Stargate SG-1 and Tribune’s Andromeda were both up 6% to a 1.7. Warner Bros.’ ER was up 23% to a fourth place 1.6, tying Tribune’s Mutant X, up 14%, and Twentieth’s off-net The Practice, unchanged.