Bad Weather Good for Syndie Ratings

Stormy winter weather in the Northeast helped many syndicated shows, especially those in the talk category, avoid posting their usual post-sweeps declines during the week ended Dec. 11, according to the Nielsen national barter rankings.

Of the 11 talk shows, seven finished the first full week after sweeps higher, two were steady and only two were down versus the prior week.

Telepictures’ Ellen matched her all-time series high, achieved just two weeks ago, at 2.6—a jump of 4% for the week. Its 18% rise for the year was the highest of any talk show.

And two Buena Vista Television shows reached season highs: Live With Regis and Kelly (3.9) was up 8% and 15% from the corresponding week a year ago, while Tony Danza climbed 18%—the biggest week-to-week increase—to 1.3. It remained flat with the prior year.

King World’s top-rated talk show Oprah was down 6% to 7.2 and even year-to-year; Paramount’s No. 2 Dr. Phil was unchanged for the week but up 2% for the year at 5.3; NBC Universal’s Maury dropped 3% to 2.8 but remained even with last year; and Paramount’s Montel, which went through an executive-producer change last week, finished at 2.2, up 10% for the week and down 4% for the year.

NBC U’s Jerry Springer tied its season high at 2.1, up 11% from last week but down 5% from last year, while its Starting Over tied its season high of 1.2, on par with week- and year-ago averages.

Both rookie talk shows, NBC U’s Martha (1.9) and Telepictures’ Tyra Banks (1.8) rose 6% for the week, with Tyra claiming her usual victory in key demos.

Last week, after being upgraded to a post-news 6:30 p.m. time period on Fox’s WNYW New York, versus 4 p.m. previously, Twentieth TV’s Geraldo at Large held even in share with its lead-in but fell 18% to a 0.9 rating/2 share. Compared to the prior year, however, it plunged 70% from a 3.0/6 for The Simpsons.

In all 33 of its metered markets, Geraldo earned a 2.2/4 for its primary runs last week, off 41% from its lead-in of 3.7/7 and 21% from the year-ago time-period average of 2.8/5.

Court shows were mixed, with Paramount’s genre leader Judge Judy down 4% for the week and 6% for the year to 4.9, while No. 2 companion Judge Joe Brown (3.4) was up 3% versus the prior week but down 6% from a year ago.

Twentieth’s Judge Alex, which leads the freshman class, matched its series high at 2.4.

Three games shows, King World’s Jeopardy! (7.2), BVT’s Who Wants To Be a Millionaire (3.3) and Tribune’s Family Feud (2.1), all hit season highs but were down year-to-year.

And NBC U’s Access Hollywood was the only magazine show to climb for the week and year (up 4 and 7%, respectively, to 2.9), while the others dropped for the week but climbed for the year.