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Courting ratings

Several "what are they thinking?" jabs were lobbed at syndicators for crowding in five new court-related shows this season alongside six returning seemingly similar series. But perhaps the ribbing wasn't all that deserved.

Behind Twentieth Television's court entry
Power of Attorney

(which scored a 2.4 for the week ended Oct. 15, according to Nielsen Media Research) came Columbia TriStar Television Distribution's
Judge Hatchett
, posting a 2.1 for that same period. As the second-highest-rated rookie strip, up 11% from its debut week (1.9),
Judge Hatchett

edged out arguably higher-profile freshman talk efforts, such as
Dr. Laura

(1.5, up 7% from the previous period) and CTTD's own
Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus

(0.8, down 11%).

Judge Hatchett

triumphed over two veteran court shows:
People's Court

(2.0, up 11%) and
Judge Mills Lane

(1.8, unchanged).

"Well, clearly, we weren't worried [about a glut of court shows], because we put the show on the air," says Russ Krasnoff, CTTD's executive vice president of programming. "What
Judge Hatchett

does is quite different from normal court shows, where they bang a gavel and give that person $300. She separates herself by really trying to make a difference in other people's lives."

Krasnoff points to an episode in which Glenda Hatchett, experienced as a juvenile-court judge, brings a drug-addicted woman to a prison to scare her straight. In another instance, Hatchett sends violent teenagers to a morgue, where they are forced to crawl into body bags.

As for local stations, kttv FOX Los Angeles' Oct. 23 run of
Judge Hatchett

(3.5) beat all other court shows in that market for that day, including kcal's
People's Court

(3.2), kttv's
Divorce Court

(3.2), kcbs'
Judge Judy

(3.1), kttv's
Power of Attorney

(2.9) and kcop's
Judge Joe Brown

(2.6). She performed the same feat on kgw Portland, Ore., where she nabbed a 3.9.