Big winners include Maury, Oprah, ET Weekend and Seinfeld.

A national holiday is always good for syndies, and Martin Luther King Day, which fell on Jan. 16, was no different.


Talk shows were the primary beneficiary of the day off work, with five tying season highs and all 11 getting some kind of bump, according to Nielsen’s live plus same day ratings for the week ending Jan. 22.

NBC Universal’s Maury, which was the biggest gainer in talk, was up 22% from the prior week to a 3.3; NBC Universal’s Jerry Springer was up 10% to a 2.3; Paramount’s Montel Williams also was up 10% to a 2.3; Buena Vista’s Tony Danza was up 8% to a 1.3; and NBC Universal’s Starting Over was up 9% to a 1.2.

King World’s The Oprah Winfrey Show, by far syndie’s top talker, was up 16% to a 7.9. King World’s Dr. Phil was up 2% to a 5.5 in second place. Buena Vista’s Live with Regis & Kelly was third at a 3.6, up 3%. The rookie talk shows were also higher. NBC U’s Martha and Warner Bros.’ The Tyra Banks Show each were up 6% to 1.8 and 1.7, respectively. Among key demos, Tyra outperformed Martha among women 18-34, women 18-49 and women 25-54.



Also showing strength were the top-three game shows all of which hit new season highs for the second week in a row. The top game, King World’s Wheel of Fortune, was up 3% to a 9.3. King World’s Jeopardy! was up 1% to 7.5 and Buena Vista’s Who Wants to be A Millionaire? was up 3% to a 3.6.


All the court shows were up week-to-week, except Paramount’s Judge Judy, which was down 2%. The court genre is hot, with two new shows—Sony’s Judge Maria Lopez and Twentieth’s Christina’s Court—cleared for fall 2006. Still, ratings for most court shows are down year-to-year.

Judge Judy was down 6% from a year ago to a 5.0 after a 2% week-to-week drop. Paramount’s Judge Joe Brown was down 15% from last year to a 3.4, despite a 6% increase for the week. Warner Bros.’ People’s Court, on the other hand, at a 3.0, was up 3% both year-to-year and week-to-week. Twentieth’s Divorce Court was down 7% from last year, up 8% for the week. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis was down 4% from last year, although up 13% for the week. Twentieth’s rookie, Judge Alex, was up 4% to a 2.4.


In first-run, Paramount’s Entertainment Tonight led the magazines for the 498th consecutive week, remaining at a season-high 5.5 for the second week in a row.

Among the off-nets, King World’s Everybody Loves Raymond was up 1% to a 6.8, followed by Sony’s Seinfeld, which hit a new season high 6.2, up 7%.

Finally, Paramount’s ET Weekend saw the week’s biggest gain, jumping 30% week-to-week. The hour-long show featured stories and interviews with the stars from Fox’s new Skating with Celebrities. ET Weekend hit a new season high of 3.5 and was the top-rated first-run weekly hour, landing in 18th place out of 112 nationally rated shows in syndication.

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