Sitcom tops the list of syndicated fare, displacing Raymond.
Warner Bros.’ Friends felt like the mega-hit it once was in the week ending March 26, when it was syndication’s top performer thanks to a weekend marathon on cable network TBS.
Up 43% to a 6.6 household rating, according to Nielsen’s live plus same day ratings, Friends had the biggest week-to-week increase of any show in syndication. It also jumped 25% year to year. Friends was the only syndicated strip to hit a new season high.
King World’s Everybody Loves Raymond normally holds the top spot among off-net sitcoms, but it slipped to second place with a 6.1, unchanged week to week and down 5% from last year. Sony’s Seinfeld was third with a 5.6, down 3 for the week and 5% from last year. Carsey-Werner’s That ’70s Show was in fourth at a 4.0, up 8% both for the week and the year. Sony’s King of Queens was in fifth with a 2.9, up 12% both for the week and the year. That tied another King, this one Twentieth’s of the Hill, which was up 7% from last week and unchanged from last year.
Unlike entertainment magazines, the off-net sitcoms were completely unaffected by basketball preemptions, because they air on Fox, WB and UPN affiliates and not traditional Big-Three stations.
But the second week of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, or “March Madness,” continued to cause preemptions during access time periods. Meanwhile, a number of daytime shows recovered once they got back to normal viewing schedules. Still, a presidential press conference on Tuesday, March 21, caused some daytime shows to be joined in progress or bumped altogether.
CBS Paramount’s Entertainment Tonight, the magazine leader, was the most preempted show in syndication. For the second week in a row, ET lost 26 metered markets due to basketball, including all of the top five on March 23 and 24. Still, the show’s ratings weren’t impacted greatly: ET scored a 4.8, down 2% for the week but up 4% from last year, and remained in first place among magazines.
ET spin-off, CBS Paramount’s The Insider, also faced basketball preemptions in 16 metered markets, including four of the top five, but held even week to week and year to year at a 2.5.
The other magazines were preempted much less because they don’t air as frequently on CBS stations. King World’s Inside Edition was up 6% to a 3.5 and up 9% from last year. NBC Universal’s Access Hollywood was unchanged at a 2.6 and up 4% from last year. Warner Bros.’ Extra! was down 5% both week to week and year to year to a 2.1.
In daytime, King World’s Oprah, which had hit a new season low the prior week, recovered to a 6.6, up 14% but unchanged from last year. King World’s Dr. Phil, also coming off its lowest ratings of the season in the prior week, bounced back to a 5.1, up 11% on the week but still down 4% from last year. In third place, Buena Vista’s Live with Regis and Kelly averaged a 3.2, down 9% for the week and off 6% from last year. NBC U’s Maury at a 2.6 was down 4% for the week and 16% from last year.
Among the rookies, Warner Bros.’ Tyra Banks at a 1.7 held steady, while NBC U’s Martha, also at a 1.7, was down 6%.
Among the court shows, CBS Paramount’s genre leader Judge Judy averaged a 5.0, up 4% for the week but down 4% from last year. In second place, CBS Paramount’s Judge Joe Brown was unchanged at a 3.1 and down 11% from last year. Warner Bros.’ People’s Court at a 2.9 was up 4% for the week and 12% from last year, the only court show to see a jump. Twentieth’s Divorce Court, which will swap Judge Mablean Eprhiam for Judge Lynn Toler next fall, was down 4% for the week and 10% from last year at a 2.7. Twentieth’s Judge Alex, the rookie, was at a 2.4, up 4% for the week.