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Court Shows Crest Over Holidays

TV courtrooms were crowded with viewers for the week ending Jan. 2, with homes using television levels up 4% during the holidays and a lot of them turned to TV jurists.

Paramount’s Judge Joe Brown led the courtroom charge, with a 9% spike to its best numbers of the season, a 3.8 rating.

That marks the show’s second new season high in the past four weeks and a 9% boost over the same week last year.

Twentieth’s Divorce Court was up 3% to a personal best 3.1. Warner Bros.’ People’s Court jumped 12% to a 2.9, a new season-best mark. Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis hit a 2.7, its highest rating in more than four years, a 13% gain from the prior week and a 29% increase over last year. Twentieth’s Texas Justice was up 5% to a new season high 2.3. And Sony’s Judge Hatchett at a 2.0 tied its season high, even with the previous week.

Among talkers, Warner Bros.’ Ellen DeGeneres Show surged to a new series high for the second time in the past three weeks. Even airing repeats all week, Ellen was up 14% to a best-ever 2.5, a 47% gain over last year.

Four other talk-show vets set new season bests.

NBC Universal’s Maury was up 9% to a new high 3.5. Paramount’s Montel Williams gained 8% to a 2.8, setting a new season high for the second week in a row despite being mostly in repeats. Montel is up 22% in the past three weeks. NBC U’s Jerry Springer jumped 13% to a new season high 2.6, and Twentieth’s Good Day Live was up 22% to a new season high 1.1.

Also showing double-digit improvement were two of the top-three access magazines.

Paramount’s Entertainment Tonight, the number-one magazine, was up 13% to a 5.1. In second place, King World’s Inside Edition was flat with a 3.3. In third place, Paramount’s The Insider was up 12% to a 2.8, with the show’s tsunami coverage earning it a 3.1, its highest daily ratings of the week. In fourth place, NBC U’s Access Hollywood was unchanged at a 2.4, followed by Warner Bros.’ Extra! at a 2.2, up 5%.

Among the games, Buena Vista’s Who Wants To Be A Millionaire was the only show to improve its ratings for the week, up 3% to a 3.6.

King World’s top games, Wheel of Fortune at an 8.6 and Jeopardy! at a 7.2,  were unchanged in their accustomed leadership position. Tribune’s Family Feud hit a 2.3, tying the show’s season high, but remaining flat week to week. 

In the first-run rookie race, following The Insider were NBC U’s Jane Pauley, down 6% to a 1.6; Buena Vista’s Tony Danza Show, unchanged at a 1.4; Twentieth’s Ambush Makeover, up 8% to a new series high 1.3; Warner Bros.’ The Larry Elder Show, up 20% to a new series high 1.2; Sony’s Pat Croce: Moving In, unchanged at a 0.8; and Sony’s Life & Style, holding at a 0.6.

On the weekend, King World’s rookie CSI was the top-rated off-net weekly hour, with a 5.7, up 10%, and Paramount’s ET Weekend was number-one in first-run with a 3.2, up 28%.