Syndie Viewing Slumps During February Sweeps

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The sweeps were good for Ellen, Oprahand Dr. Phil, even though average viewing was off 3%, or about 600,000 households, year-to-year.

Warner Bros.’ TheEllenDeGeneres Show topped the rookie race with an average 2.1 rating during sweeps, up a full 31% from its first sweeps in November 2003 and up 75% from its nearest rival, Warner Bros.’ TheSharon Osbourne Show. At a 1.2 average, Sharon was down 20% from November.

Twentieth’s On Air With Ryan Seacrest, which launched in January, was up 10% over its debut to a 1.1 average. Also clocking 1.1 averages for the sweep were King World’s Living It Up!With Ali & Jack and NBC Enterprises’ Starting Over, with each show gaining 10% from November.

Oprah led the talk shows with a 7.8, up 16% over February 2003. Dr.Phil, the second-highest rated talker, had its best February sweeps in its two-year history, jumping 4% from last year to a 5.7 average.

Further down the list, Twentieth’s Good DayLive was up 22% to 1.1.

On the downside, King World’s Martha Stewart Living dropped 14% to 1.2, which was the second largest year-to-year decline of any talk show not yet canceled. Sony’s Ricki Lake, which fell 28% to 1.3, had the biggest loss.

Elsewhere in daytime, Paramount’s Judge Judy continued to rule the court shows, although it fell 5% from last year to a 5.3 average. Warner Bros.’ Judge Greg Mathis had its best sweeps in its one-hour format in four years, surging 9% to 2.4, tying Warner Bros.’ People’s Court, which rose 4% to 2.4. Also up was Sony’s Judge Hatchett, which climbed 11% to 2.0.

In access, off-net sitcoms were soft. Sony’s Seinfeld headed the field but slid 13% to 6.6, followed by Warner Bros.’ Friends, which slid 18% to 6.3. King World’s Everybody Loves Raymond, in third, skidded 14% to 5.7.

Carsey-Werner-Mandabach’s That ’70s Show was up 5% to 4.1, but Warner Bros.’ Will & Grace lost 19% to 3.5. Twentieth’s King of the Hill tumbled 11% to 3.3.

King World’s Wheel of Fortune topped the game shows, but was down 7% to 9.6. Buena Vista’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire averaged a series-high 3.9 to complete its best sweeps ever, up 11% from last year. And Tribune’s Family Feud was up 21% to 2.3.

Among magazines, Paramount’s Entertainment Tonight won its 54th straight sweeps with a 6.2 average, up from 59% from its nearest rival, King World’s Inside Edition. In the final week of the period, ET scored a sweeps-high 7.6 single-day rating for its March 1 Oscar coverage. That was up 23% from the prior week and 81% higher than its closest competitor, Inside Edition.

Overall, ET dipped 6% from last year, which was the show’s highest sweeps since February 2001. King World’s Inside Edition was up 5% to a 3.9 average, with a 4.2 for its Oscar coverage of the Academy Awards. NBC Enterprises’ Access Hollywood rose 7% to a 3.2, its best February sweeps ever, with a 3.7 for the March 1 Oscar show. Warner Bros.’ Extra! was unchanged year-to-year with a 2.9, earning a 3.4 for its Academy Awards show.

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