Overall, however, syndicated viewing was flat to down in the week prior to the start of the February sweeps.
Despite some slight dips in the week ending Jan. 28, three of the top four magazines still showed solid growth over last year. No other genre had more than a single show up over last year at this time.
A surprise was Twentieth’s Geraldo at Large, which ended its run in a blaze of ratings glory.
Keeping ratings flat to down in the last full week before the February sweeps was a 4.3 million viewer decline in the PUT levels from the week before which included the Martin Luther King holiday. Also affecting the ratings was the president’s State of the Union address which preempted some shows in some markets.
The top magazine for the past 550 consecutive weeks, CBS Television Distribution’s Entertainment Tonight, was bumped by the president’s speech in six top-50 markets, including Los Angeles, slipping 5% to a 5.6, but still growing 6% over last year at this time. NBCU’s Access Hollywood dropped 9% to a 2.9, although it was up 4% from last year. CBS Television Distribution’s The Insider held steady at its season high 2.8 for a third straight week and grew 4% over last year. CBS Television Distribution’s Inside Edition, the second-highest-rated magazine, was down 3% to a 3.6 and down 5% year to year, while Warner Bros.’ Extra! was unchanged at a 2.3 and off 4% from last year.
In its final week on the air, Geraldo equaled its previous series high 1.7, holding firm week to week. Since being officially canceled in early January, Geraldo’s ratings have risen 21%. It was also the final week for NBCU’s Megan Mullally, which was down 22% to a lowest-ever 0.7.
The only game show up from last year was Buena Vista’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire, which improved 9% to a 3.6, despite a 3% week-to-week decline. Game show leader CBS Television Distribution’s Wheel of Fortune was unchanged at a 9.0, but down 4% from last year, and CBS Television Distribution’s Jeopardy!was down 1% to a 7.2 and lost 4% from last year.
No courtrooms had any year-to-year growth. Week to week, CBS Television Distribution’s Judge Judy was up 2% to a new season high 5.1. Also hitting a new season high was Warner Bros.’ People’s Court, which gained 3% to a 3.0. In second place, CBS Television Distribution’s Judge Joe Brown was flat at a 3.2. Among the new gavelers, Twentieth’s Cristina’s Court was unchanged at a 1.4, while Sony’s Judge Maria Lopez fell 9% to a 1.0.
The only veteran talk show pacing ahead of last year was Buena Vista’s Live with Regis and Kelly, which was up 6% over the same week a year ago, despite a 5% decline week to week to a 3.6. Every other talk show was down from the prior week except NBCU’s Jerry Springer and NBCU’s Martha. Springer was unchanged at a 1.8, but pulled ahead of rival CBS Television Distribution’s Montel Williams for the first time since the week of Dec. 25, 2006, as Montel dropped 16% to a 1.6.
Martha held steady at it season high 1.5 and CBS Television Distribution’s Oprah, the talk leader, was down 7% to a 6.7 and was off 8% from last year.
CBS Television Distribution’s Rachael Ray, the rookie champion for the past 19 weeks, was down 4% from its season-high mark in the previous week to a 2.2, although it hit a weekly high 2.5 on Mon, Jan. 22 when Dream Girl Jennifer Hudson cooked pork chops on the show. The Ray numbers were 144% numbers higher than those of Warner Bros.’ Dr. Keith Ablow, which will reportedly end production shortly and not return next season. Ablow was down 18% to a 0.9, tying its series low.
Among the syndication newcomers not yet nationally rated, Fox’s The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet was up 8% in its second week on the air, the week of Jan. 29, to a week of 1.4 rating/5 share in what are now 27 metered markets, up from 25 in week one. That was 133% higher than NBCU’s iVillage Live’s 0.6/2 average which was up 20% from the week before. iVillage, now in its ninth week, airs on 12 mostly big market NBC stations, up from 10 in the prior week.
Off-net sitcoms did little. CBS Television Distribution’s Everybody Loves Raymond was flat at a 5.6, while Sony’s Seinfeld lost 4% to a 4.8 and Warner Bros.’ Friends fell 5% to a 3.7. All three shows were down from last year by double digits.
Off-net hours were led by CBS Television Distribution’s CSI: Miami which was down 8% to a 4.5. Warner Bros.’ Without a Trace was up 12% to regain second place over Tribune’s American Idol: Rewind which was unchanged at a 2.7.
Sony’s Seinfeld Weekend was the top off-network weekly half hour with a 3.7, down 8%. CBS Television Distribution’s Everybody Loves Raymond Weekend W had a 3.2, down 9%.