Many shows turn in new season highs in week ending Feb. 18.
The ongoing battles over Anna Nicole Smith’s baby Dannielynn and Smith’s burial site sparked another rally for most magazines and it was a record breaker for CBS Television Distribution’s The Insider which scored its highest ratings ever in the week ending Feb. 18.
The majority of daytime shows and several game shows, especially Buena Vista’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire, were also hot. The Insider, a 2004 spinoff of powerhouse Entertainment Tonight, notched an all-time high 3.2 for the period which included the second full week of the sweep. That marked the show’s third consecutive week of new season highs, a 3% weekly increase and a 10% jump over last year at this time. So far this year, The Insider ratings are up 33%.
ET, the No. 1 magazine, hit its highest household ratings in more than three years, scoring a 6.6, up 3% for the week and up 22% over last year. Even better, its 4.7 rating in the key women 25-54 demo was the show’s best in exactly four years.
CBS Television Distribution’s Inside Edition was up 2% to a 4.2, which was a three-year high and up 17% year to year.
In fourth place following The Insider, NBCU’s Access Hollywood was flat at a 3.1. The show was up 35% from the same week last year, but that was when its ratings were depressed by numerous preemptions due to NBC’s Winter Olympics coverage.
Warner Bros.’ Extra! held steady at a 2.5, which was its previous season high. Year-ago ratings for Warner Bros.’ Extra!, which like Access Hollywood, airs on many large-market NBC affiliates, were completely broken out by Nielsen due to massive Olympics preemptions.
Top newcomer, CBS Television Distribution’s Rachael Ray, hit a new season high 2.6, up 8% from its previous high the week before. On Valentine’s Day, Ray broke into the 3 range for the first time, averaging a 3.0 for an episode with soap star Susan Lucci.
In other rookie news, after three straight weeks of increases following its launch, Fox’s The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet took a breather last week. The newest syndication entry averaged a 1.4 rating/5 share in its 27 metered markets, pulling back 13% but still scoring new highs like Birmingham, Ala. (DMA 40) where it rose 12% to a 5.5/13 at 9 a.m.
NBCU’s iVillage Live lost 29% to a 0.5/2 average in its 12 metered markets which include all of the top six.
The only veteran talker setting a season high was NBCU’s Martha, which was up 7% to a 1.6. The big show of the week featured Desperate Housewife Eva Longoria which reached a total audience of approximately 3 million viewers on Feb. 16.
The other chat shows with week-to-week growth were CBS Television Distribution’s Oprah, up 4% to a 7.6; NBCU’s Maury, up 4% to a 2.7; NBCU’s Jerry Springer, which waltzed to its highest rating since December with a 6% leap to a 1.9; CBS Television Distribution’s Montel Williams, which was up 6% to 1.8; and Warner Bros.’ Tyra Banks, which added 7% to a 1.6.
Compared to last year, only three of the veterans were up: Oprah, which rose 10%; CBS Television Distribution’s Dr. Phil, which improved 8% to a 5.7; and Buena Vista’s Live with Regis and Kelly, which also grew 8% to a 3.9.
All the courtrooms hit or tied season highs. CBS Television Distribution’s Judge Judy was up 4% to a season-best 5.3; CBS Television Distribution’s Judge Joe Brown added 3% to deliver a season high 3.5; Warner Bros.’ People’s Court climbed 7% to a season-high 3.2; Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis was unchanged from its previous high 2.8; and Twentieth’s Divorce Court rounded out the top five with gains of 9% from the prior week and 20% from two weeks ago to a new season high 2.4.
Year to year, the courts with top increases were Brown, up 13%, and Mathis, up 12%, although all of the top four saw growth.
CBS Television Distribution’s Wheel of Fortune continued to rule the genre, despite a 1% decline to a 9.1. CBS Television Distribution’s Jeopardy! gained 3% to a 7.4, Who Wants to be a Millionaire was rewarded with its highest ratings in more than two years, a 3.9, up 5% for the week and up 26% from last year. And Debmar-Mercury’s Family Feud jumped 10% to a season-high 2.3.
All of the games were up over last year by a single digit, except for Millionaire which was sharply higher.
Off-net sitcoms were mixed, with CBS Television Distribution’s Everybody Loves Raymond gaining 4% to a 5.7, but dropping 14% from last year. Sony’s Seinfeld lost 4% to a 4.9 and slipped 17% from last year, while Warner Bros.’ Friends was up 3% to a 3.8, but fell 24% year to year.
The top weekly hours came back down to earth after a big move in the prior week. In first run, leader CBS Television Distribution’s Entertainment Tonight Weekend slipped 9% to a 3.2, although it was still even with last year. NBCU’s Access Hollywood Weekend dropped 22% to a 1.8. Last year it was broken out due to Olympic preemptions. Warner Bros.’ Extra! Weekend also fell 22% to a 1.4 and had an Olympic breakout last year.
CBS Television Distribution’s CSI: Miami was the hour-long off-net weekly leader, with a 5.0, down 2%. Warner Bros.’ Without a Trace was unchanged at a 2.6 and Tribune’s American Idol: Rewind fell 8% to a 2.2.