The actor’s troubles are grist for the ratings mill.
Movie star Mel Gibson’s meltdown meant high times for the syndie entertainment magazines in the week ending Aug. 6, with all of them except NBC Universal’s Access Hollywood up or flat for the week and year.
The story of Gibson’s arrest on charges drunk driving and the star’s subseqent anti-semitic remarks aimed at the arresting officer broke on July 31 and Aug. 1. All the magazines lavished time on the scandal, except Access Hollywood, which devoted just two minutes to the story on both days. CBS Paramount’s Entertainment Tonight, on the other hand, scored exclusive interviews with the women who were partying with Gibson at Malibu’s Moonshadows restaurant prior to his arrest.
ET was the top magazine, per usual. Still, the show’s Gibson scoop helped it score a 4.6 household rating, according to Nielsen’s live plus same day ratings, boosting ET 5% for the week and 10% for the year. ET also jumped a few notches on syndication’s overall rankings, coming in as the fifth-most viewed show in syndication for the week and tying Sony’s Seinfeld as well as corporate rival, CBS Paramount’s Judge Judy. ET last took fifth place after the week that Star Jones tendered her on-air resignation from ABC’s The View.
King World’s Inside Edition also heavily covered the Gibson story, scoring a 3.5 and jumping 13% for the week and 21% for the year. That’s by far the most improvement among the mags.
In third place, CBS Paramount’s The Insider at a 2.5 was up 4% for the week and year. Access Hollywood held on to fourth at a 2.2, down 4% for the week, but still up 5% from last year. Warner Bros.’ Extra! was up 11% to a 2.1, almost tying Access Hollywood, and holding steady with last year. Extra!’s online cousin, TMZ.com, broke the story of Gibson’s high-profile arrest.
This week also saw the demise of the final two nationally-rated relationship shows. Both NBC Universal’s Blind Date and Warner Bros.’ Elimidate will not return in first-run, although repeats will be available for stations that want them. It took just six years for dating shows to run their cycle. In the 2000-01 season, the format dominated the market, with six relationship shows on the air.
As they wind down, NBCU’s Blind Date at a 1.0 was down 9% for the week and the year, while Warner Bros.’ Elimidate at a 0.9 was down 10% for the week and 18% from last year.
The talk shows were mostly in repeats, but CBS Paramount’s Dr. Phil at a 4.5, up 5% for the week and 10% for the year. King World’s leader, Oprah, at a 5.2 was down 7% for the week and 5% for the year.
Buena Vista’s Live with Regis and Kelly at a 3.2 was unchanged for the week and down 3% from last year. NBCU’s Maury at a 2.8 was up 4% on the week, but down 3% for the year. CBS Paramount’s Montel Williams and NBCU’s Jerry Springer tied at a 1.9. Montel was down 5% for the week and year, while Springer, who soon will be dancing on ABC, was unchanged for the week but down 14% from last year. Warner Bros.’ Ellen Degeneres at a 1.6, renewed last week by the NBC station group for three more years, was down 6% for the week and unchanged from last year.
Warner Bros.’ rookie Tyra Banks at a 1.4 was down 13%, while NBC U’s Martha at a 1.2 was flat.
Among the court shows, CBS Paramount’s Judge Judy remained the top gaveler at a 4.6, up 2% for the week and flat from last year. In perennial second place, CBS Paramount’s Judge Joe Brown at a 3.0 was up 3% for the week and flat from last year. Warner Bros.’ People’s Court at a 2.7 was flat for the week and up 8% from last year. Twentieth’s Divorce Court at a 2.6 was up 8% for the week and 4% from last year. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis at a 2.3 was flat week to week and down 4% for the year. And Sony’s Judge Hatchett at a 1.6 was down 6% for the week and year.
Twentieth’s rookie Judge Alex at a 2.0 was up 11% from last week’s season low.
The off-net sitcoms continued to struggle year to year. King World’s Everybody Loves Raymond at a 5.2 was unchanged for the week and down 5% from last year. Seinfeld at a 4.6 was unchanged for the week and down 18% from last year. Warner Bros.’ Friends at a 3.6 was down 8% for the week and down 46% from last year. The big year-to-year drop is due to a surge in the show’s numbers last year due to a Friends’ marathon that ran on TBS.
Among the games, King World’s Wheel of Fortune at a 7.1 was up 1% for the week but down 1% from last year. King World’s Jeopardy! at a 5.4 was down 7% for the week and 8% from last year. Buena Vista’s Who Wants to be a Millionare at a 3.2 was up 7% for the week and unchanged from last year. And Tribune’s Family Feud at a 2.2 was flat for the week and year.