After six weeks of slumping numbers, viewership picks up with help from on-air spat on CBS Paramount’s The Insider.
CBS Paramount’s The Insider got a shot in the, er, arm in the week ending May 14 when Joey Buttafuoco confronted ex-underage-lover (and wife-shooter) Amy Fisher, told her to “go to hellÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¯Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¿Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â½? and then stormed off the set, much to the delight of ratings-hungry producers. That little tantrum scored the show a 3.0 household rating on May 11, helped it average a 2.7 for the week, and boosted it 20% week to week and 4% year to year, according to Nielsen’s live plus same day ratings.
The Insider and King World’s Inside Edition were the only two magazines to show yearly improvement, with a mercifully Buttafuoco-less Inside Edition jumping 4% on the year to a 3.4, leaving it unchanged for the week. Meanwhile, CBS Paramount’s genre leader, Entertainment Tonight, stayed on top, averaging a 5.0, up 2% for the week but down 2% for the year.
In fourth place, NBC Universal’s Access Hollywood averaged a 2.5, up 9% for the week and unchanged from last year, while Warner Bros.’ Extra! at a 2.2 was up 5% for the week and even with last year.
In the second full week of the May sweep, levels of people using television climbed by 1.7 million viewers, or 4% from the prior week, after six weeks of downturns. Most syndicated programs were up week to week, although syndication remains largely down compared to last year.
Most of the talk shows were higher, but NBC Universal’s Martha hit a new season low, making the domestic doyenne the only syndicated strip to hit bottom. Rookie Martha bucked the uptrend with a 1.4, down 13% from the prior week and showing the biggest weekly decline of any talker. Rival rookie, Warner Bros.’ Tyra Banks, was up 6% to a 1.7. Tyra also was the highest-rated rookie in all key female demos.
King World’s top talker, The Oprah Winfrey Show, was up 3% to a 7.2, although Oprah is down 10% from last year. CBS Paramount’s Dr. Phil scored its second-highest weekly average of the year at a 5.6, up 10% for the week but still down 2% from last year. Buena Vista’s Live with Regis & Kelly at a 3.4 was up 3% on the week and even with last year. NBCU’s Maury, with a $100 million sexual harassment lawsuit still looming, was up 4% to a 2.6, but down 13% from last year. Warner Bros.’ Ellen Degeneres was the only talker up over last year, gaining 10% on the year and 5% on the week to a 2.3. CBS Paramount’s Montel Williams dropped 5% for the week to a 1.9, and was down a whopping 21% for the year. And NBCU’s Jerry Springer averaged a 1.8, up 6% for the week but down 14% for the year.
Among the court shows, CBS Paramount’s Judge Judy at a 4.7 was up 4% for the week and unchanged from last year. CBS Paramount’s Judge Joe Brown at a 3.1 was up 3% for the week but down 6% from last year. Warner Bros.’ People’s Court at a 2.7 was up 4% for the week and the year. And Twentieth’s Divorce Court, tying People’s Court for third place among the courts, was up 8% for the week and unchanged for the year. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis at a 2.3 was unchanged for the week and down 4% from last year. Twentieth’s rookie, Judge Alex, at a 2.1 was up 5%, while Sony’s Judge Hatchett at a 1.8 was up 6% both week to week and year to year.
Among the games, King World’s Wheel of Fortune at a 7.9 basically held steady, up 1% for the week but down 2% for the year. King World’s Jeopardy!, No. 2 in the genre, at a 6.4 was unchanged for the week but down 10% from last year. Buena Vista’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire at a 3.2, was up 3% for the week but off 3% from last year. And Tribune’s Family Feud at a 2.1 was up 5% for the week and unchanged from last year.