Shopping, reruns, president lower viewing in week ended Dec. 24.
There was not much movement in syndication in the final week prior to Christmas, the week ending Dec 24. Unusually mild weather, especially in the Northeast, and last-minute shopping apparently hurt shows, many of which were in reruns. In addition, some were preempted Dec. 20 by President Bush’s annual year-end press conference.
The big surprise this week was yesterday’s cancellation by NBC Universal of new talker Megan Mullally which ceased production and will leave air in about three weeks. Over the past four weeks the show has underperformed its year-ago time period average by 43% in metered markets, averaging 0.8 rating /3 share and has scored below a 1.0 rating in all of the top 10 markets. Nationally, Mullally averaged a 0.8 for week ending Dec. 24 which equaled its series low and was down 11% from week before.
This season’s highest rated new strip, King World’s Rachael Ray, continued to make mincemeat out of the rookie field with numbers higher than the next two freshman talkers combined. Ray cooked up a 2.1, unchanged from week before nationally, but reached all-time highs in six of top 45 markets.
A distant second was Warner Bros.’ Dr. Keith Ablow at a 1.1, unchanged, followed by Sony’s Greg Behrendt at a 0.8, also unchanged.
Among veteran talkers, King World’s Oprah, for second week in a row, was only talk show to hit a new season low. Oprah fell 12% to a 5.3, which was only 0.7 ratings point ahead of King World’s Dr. Phil, the closest the two shows have been all season.
Dr. Phil, at a 4.6, was down only 2%. Buena Vista’s Live with Regis & Kelly scored a 3.6, up 6%; NBC Universal’s Maury earned a season high 2.6, up 18%, followed by Warner Bros.’ Ellen Degeneres at a 2.1, down 5% and NBC Universal’s Jerry Springer, which was up 6% to a 1.8.
All of the talkers were down compared to last year at this time, although Dr. Phil had the smallest decline, only losing 2%
CBS Paramount’s Entertainment Tonight had the top ratings among magazines with a 5.1, down 2% for the week, but up 4% over last year. An exclusive and widely quoted interview with Donald Trump in which he blasted Rosie O’Donnell after the Miss USA flap, gave ET its highest rating of the week, a 5.3 on Dec. 21. The only other magazine up over last year was NBCU’s Access Hollywood, which had a 2.6, up 4% year to year.
CBS Paramount’s Judge Judy was the highest-rated court with a 4.7, flat both for the week and the year. The only jurist up from last year was Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis which rose 14% to a fourth-place 2.5. Among the new courtrooms, Twentieth’s Cristina’s Court was down 7% to a 1.3 and Sony’s Judge Maria Lopez was unchanged at a 1.0.
King World’s Wheel of Fortune led the game shows with an 8.4, down 2% week to week but up 2% year to year. Other games up over last year were King World’s Jeopardy!, up 1% to a 6.8, and Buena Vista’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire, up 3% to a 3.4.
The top off-net sitcoms were all down for the week and continuted to show steep declines from last year. King World’s Everybody Loves Raymond fell 19% from last year at this time to a 5.1. Sony’s Seinfeld dropped 18% to a 4.5 and Warner Bros.’ Friends sank 27% to a 3.6.
Numerous holiday preemptions sent all the major weekend shows sharply lower. In fact, the top three weekly off-net hours all hit new season lows. King World’s CSI: Miami plunged 27% to a 3.6; Warner Bros.’ Without a Trace lost 19% to a 2.2; and Tribune’s American Idol: Rewind dropped 12% to a 2.2.
CBS Paramount’s Entertainment Tonight Weekend, highest-rated first-run weekly hour, was down 7% to a 2.5. NBCU’s Access Hollywood Weekend fell 11% to a 1.6 and Warner Bros.’ Extra! Weekend skidded 13% to a new season low of 1.3.
Among the leading half-hour weeklies, Sony’s Seinfeld Weekend plummented 23% to a 3.0 and King World’s Everybody Loves Raymond Weekend slid 15% to 2.8.
In first run, NBCU’s The Chris Matthews Show was on top—although down 10%—to a 1.8 while Buena Vista’s Ebert & Roper hit a season low of 1.6, down 20%.