Viewers Flock to First-Run Syndie Shows


In another rerun-filled summer session for syndication marked by some sports preemptions, four first-run strips bucked a downward trend of mostly single-digit declines that left many top-tier programs with their worst weeks of the season.

According to Nielsen results for the week ending June 18, CBS-Paramount’s Entertainment Tonight rose 5% and 2% for the year to 4.5. Executive Producer Linda Bell Blue this week marks her 11th year as showrunner of the program, which, barring a major upset, will record its 520th consecutive weekly win next week.

Among the other shows climbing during the week were Twentieth TV’s rookie court strip Judge Alex, up 5% to 2.0; the King World magazine strip Inside Edition, 3% higher for the week and 7% for the year to 3.2; and Buena Vista Television’s Live with Regis and Kelly (3.2), which marked an increase of 3% during the week but was off 6% for the year.

Overall, magazines, blending original and repackaged material, held up the best.

CBS-Paramount’s The Insider, another Bell Blue produced show, finished even at 2.5 and down 4% from a year ago; NBC Universal’s Access Hollywood at 2.2 was down 8% for the week and flat from last year; and Warner Bros.’ Extra hit a new season low of 2.0, down 5% for the week and on par with the corresponding week in 2005.

Among talk shows, King World’s Oprah and Dr. Phil hit new season lows, as did court’s top series, Judge Judy, which fell to 4.2, down 7% for the week and 2% for the year. Most others in the genre remained unchanged.