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Ellen on Holiday High

The syndicated Ellen DeGeneres Show got a nice holiday gift: its best national weekly ratings ever.

The show, which came in sixth among all talkers, scored a 2.4 rating average for the week ending Dec. 19, up 9% from the prior week and up 50% year to year. That came amid a general decline for other talkers.

Ellen’s highest-rated show of the week featured singer Celine Dion and averaged a 2.5 Dec. 17.

The top five talk shows were Oprah, Dr. Phil, Live With Regis & Kelly, Maury, and Montel.

Oprah slipped to its lowest rating of the season, down 8% to a 6.6, although the show was still up 10% year to year.

Paramount’s Dr. Phil was down 2%, both from last week and last year, to a 5.1.Buena Vista’s Live with Regis & Kelly, was up 6% for the week but down 10% for the year to a 3.6. NBC Universal’s Maury was up 7% for the week and up 3% year to year to a 3.0. Paramount’s Montel Williams Show was up 9% for the week and even with last year at a 2.5.

Also having a good week was NBC Universal’s Jerry Springer, with a seventh-place 2.3, up 5% from both the prior week and last year to a new season high.

Most court shows, already on a roll, were relatively unchanged.

Paramount’s top-rated one-two punch of Judge Judy and Judge Joe Brown held steady at a 5.2 and 3.6, respectively, with both shows remaining at their season highs.

Elsewhere, very few access shows were up. The only magazine to improve was Paramount’s Entertainment Tonight, which gained 2% to a 5.2. King World’s top game Wheel of Fortune was down 5% to an 8.9, while King World’s Jeopardy! was down 6% to a 7.6 after dropping 12% the prior week.

None of the top eight off-net sitcoms advanced, with King World’s leader, Everybody Loves Raymond, dipping only 1% to a 7.1.

Among the first-run rookies, Paramount’s The Insider continued to rule by a wide margin with a 2.6, down 4% after being preempted by holiday specials in several markets.

NBC Universal’s Jane Pauley Show was second at a 1.4, down 7%, followed by Buena Vista’s The Tony Danza Show, unchanged at a 1.3, and Twentieth’s Ambush Makeover, down 10% to a 0.9.

Warner Bros.’ The Larry Elder Show at a 0.9, Sony’s Pat Croce: Moving In at a 0.7 and Sony’s Life & Style at a 0.5 were all unchanged.