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Blackout stifles syndie ratings

The largest blackout in the nation’s history, which struck shortly after 4
p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 14, triggered a massive number of ratings break-outs due
to abnormal viewing during the week ending Aug. 17.

In an attempt to level the playing field, Nielsen left virtually every
syndicated strip with only a three-day average for the week, excluding Thursday,
Aug. 14, Friday, Aug. 15, and Saturday, Aug. 16.

Average broadcast viewing for the three-day pre-blackout portion of the week
was about the same as the prior week but down about 700,000 viewers from four
weeks ago.

After the smoke cleared, ratings for most shows were little changed in the
shortened week.

Among magazines, which were the strongest group last week, Paramount’s
Entertainment Tonight was up 6% to 5.1. King World’s Inside
, fell 7% to 2.8.

Warner Bros.’ Extra rose 4% to 2.5. NBC Enterprises’ Access
lost 4% to 2.3 and Warner Bros.’ Celebrity Justice gained
8% to 1.3.

The top off-net sitcoms were neck and neck with Sony’s Seinfeld up 2%
to 6.0 and first place.

Warner Bros.’ Friends and King World’s Everybody Loves Raymond
each were up 5% to 5.9 and 5.8, respectively.

Game shows were led by King World’s Wheel of Fortune up 4% to 7.9,
followed by King World’s Jeopardy down 3% to 6.1 and Buena Vista’s Who
Wants to be a Millionaire
unchanged at 3.0.

In talk, King World’s Oprah was on top with 5.5, up 2%. King World’s
Dr. Phil was unchanged at 4.1. Buena Vista’s Live with Regis &
moved into third place for the first time since early July, with a 6%
increase to 3.5. Universal’s Maury dropped to fourth, slipping 9% to 3.2.

Paramount’s Judge Judy was up 7% to 4.8 among court shows, with
Paramount’s Judge JoeBrown unchanged at 3.4 and Twentieth’s
Divorce Court down 7% to 2.5.

Paramount’s ET Weekend remained the No. 1 weekly hour, gaining 3% to
3.2. Tribune’s Mutant X and MGM/NBC Enterprises’ Stargate SG-1
each averaged a 2.2 in second place. Mutant X was up 5%, while
Stargate was unchanged.

Also on the weekend, the movie review show race tightened, with Buena Vista’s
Ebert & Roeper at the Movies falling 14% to 1.9 and Paramount’s
Hot Ticket rising 13% to 1.8.