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Access Heats Up

Most access entertainment magazines were hot in the week ending June 20, with four of the five getting bumps from the release of former President Bill Clinton's memoir, as well as retrospectives on the late Ray Charles. Ratings for some shows were disrupted by NBC's U.S. Open golf coverage June 17 and 18.

Paramount's Entertainment Tonight hit its highest rating since the May sweeps with a 5.1, up 11% from the prior week and up 13% from last year at this time.

King World's Inside Edition earned a 3.3, up 3% for the  week and 6% from last year. Warner Bros.' Extra! at 2.5 was up 9%, both week-to-week and year-to-year and moved into third place, ahead of NBC Universal's Access Hollywood for the first time this season. Access was down 14% to a 2.4 and unchanged from last year, while Warner Bros.' Celebrity Justice was up 18% to a 1.3, also flat from last year.

Elsewhere, four of 11 talk shows were higher, including the top three and Twentieth's rookie On Air with Ryan Seacrest. King World's Oprah, the talk leader, was up 3% to a 6.2. King World's Dr. Phil rose 2% to a 4.4 and Buena Vista's Live with Regis and Kelly gained 3% to a 3.5.

Seacrest, the only rookie to improve this week, was up 11% to a 1.0. Among court shows, only two of the seven were up from the prior week. Paramount's Judge Judy, the chief ratings justice, was up 2% to a 4.5, and Sony's Judge Hatchett rebounded 22% from a soft 1.8 in the prior week to a 2.2. That tied Warner Bros.' Judge Greg Mathis for fifth place. Five of the seven gavelers were unchanged from the prior week.

Other winners in first-run this week included NBC Universal's Blind Date, the number-one dating show for the past dozen weeks, which climbed 7% to a 1.5, and the top-two game shows, King World's Wheel of Fortune and King World's Jeopardy!, which bounced off two straight weeks of season lows. Wheel rose 7% to a 7.4 and the Jeopardy! answer was: The show up 12% to a 6.5?

In the minus column, Warner Bros.' Street Smarts had the only double-digit decline among game shows, a 20% drop to a 0.8, matching its series low.

The top-three off-nets recovered from last week's season-low ratings, which were depressed in part due to coverage of the death of President Reagan. Sony's Seinfeld, at a 5.3, was up 6% for the week, Warner Bros.' Friends at a 5.1 was up 9% and King World's Everybody Loves Raymond at a 4.8 was up 4%.