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Dr. Phil still strong in syndies

King World Productions'/Paramount Television's Dr. Phil remains the big ratings winner out of rookie syndicated shows, according to Nielsen Media Research's national ratings
for the week ending Sept. 22.

Dr. Phil's first full week won a 4.4 national rating, second only to King
World's Oprah, which led with a 6.0. Dr. Phil is cleared on 295
stations covering 97 percent of the United States.

No. 2 of the rookie talk shows was Warner Bros.' The Caroline Rhea
, which gained 10 percent to record a 1.1 rating. "This is a more
impressive rating than it sounds like because Caroline is stuck in
late-night slots in most of the country's largest markets," one analyst said.

NBC Enterprises' The John Walsh Show also had a 1.1 rating, holding
steady after two weeks. Theoretically, Walsh should be having an easier
time than Caroline because the show is cleared on NBC owned-and-operated stations in top
markets in daytime slots.

The other two talkers, Tribune Broadcasting's Beyond with James Van Praagh and
Twentieth Television's The Rob Nelson Show, both showed 0.9 ratings, which were the
same numbers the two shows received in Nielsen's weighted metered markets.
Beyond is cleared on 178 stations covering 95 percent of the country and
Rob Nelson is cleared on 181 stations covering 94 percent of the country.

The two rookie game shows -- Buena Vista's Who Wants to Be a
and Sony Pictures Television's Pyramid -- remained steady.
Millionaire scored a 2.4 rating, and it is cleared on 204 stations covering
90 percent of the country. It had the highest premiere for a game show since
King World's Hollywood Squares opened at a 3.7 rating in September 1998.
Pyramid scored a 1.7 rating on 238 stations covering 90 percent of the

Out of two rookie reality strips, Warner Bros.' Celebrity Justice was
the champ, up 8 percent to a 1.3 in its third week. Paramount's Life
was up 13 percent to a 0.9 rating in its second week.

Two off-net sitcoms debuted Sept. 16, both from Twentieth, That 70s
and The Hughleys. That 70s Show premiered with a 3.3 on
189 stations covering 94 percent of the country, and it placed fourth out of all
off-net sitcoms. Friends led the pack with a 6.8, Everybody Loves
took second with a 6.2 and Seinfeld third with a 5.8. The
was not as strong, opening with a 1.3 rating on 158 stations
covering 88 percent of the country.

Finally, three weekly rookies debuted in September. Sony's The Larry
Sanders Show
jumped 31 percent in its second week, increasing its coverage
to 94 percent from 92 percent. Western International Syndication's
Starhunter, a one-hour action strip, increased its rating 125 percent to
a 0.9 with coverage jumping to 80 percent from 75 percent. And NBC Enterprises'
The Chris Matthews Show debuted with a 1.0 rating on 276 stations
covering 90 percent of the country.