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Changes Boost Court Shows

Modifications to two of Warner Bros.' court shows—The People's Court
and Judge Mathis—have improved the ratings of both programs.

Two years ago, Warner Bros. replaced Judge Judy's husband, Jerry Sheindlin, on People's Court
with a young Hispanic judge from Miami, Marilyn Milian. Since then, the show has steadily improved, finishing last month's sweeps up 13% in households over May 2002, according to Nielsen's overnight metered-market ratings.

Judge Mathis
returned to its original one-hour format and changed executive producers and has been rewarded with a 38% jump in households vs. year-ago ratings in the time period, also according to Nielsen's overnight metered markets.

As a result, People's Court
has received upgrades in several markets. On WCIU-TV Chicago, it airs at 4 p.m., having switched places with Buena Vista's The Wayne Brady Show, which now airs at 10 a.m. People's Court's 8 share ties it for second place in the time period in the market.

This fall, People's Court
will replace Buena Vista's Who Wants To Be a Millionaire
on WCBS-TV New York at 4 p.m., going up against Paramount's Judge Judy
on WNBC-TV, King World's The Oprah Winfrey Show
on WABC-TV, and Twentieth's Divorce Court
and Sony's Judge Hatchett
on Fox's WNYW-TV.

Right now, People's Court
airs on WNBC-TV at 10 a.m., where it has improved the time period by 56%. NBC Enterprises'The Other Half
held that slot last year. "I think it just speaks to the fact that Milian has really popped," says Jim Paratore, executive vice president of Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution and president of Telepictures Productions.

Even so, People's Court
is down 18% year-to-year vs. last May.

Judge Mathis, launched in 1999, has improved not only the time period but its own performance as well, rising 6% year-to-year. The only other show to see better growth is Paramount's Judge Joe Brown, whose rating improved 8%.

"Mathis has always had a nice little niche," Paratore says. "He might not have performed as well in the overall ratings, but he always did the best in the demos of any court show."

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.