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Ellen, Millionaire Score Best-Ever Marks

Warner Bros.’ freshman The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Buena Vista’s sophomore Who Wants to Be a Millionaire had their best weeks ever in the week ended Jan. 25.

Ellen, the No. 1 new first-run strip this season, hit a 2.0 household rating for the first time, gaining 11%. That put it up 43% from its September premiere. Ellen also hit a new high in women 18-49, jumping 18% to a 1.3.

Among other rookies, Warner Bros.’ Sharon Osbourne, unchanged at a 1.3, held on to second place. Tribune is not renewing the show, and it won’t be back next season.

NBC Enterprises’ Starting Over, renewed for next year, rose 10% to a 1.1. Twentieth’s On Air With Ryan Seacrest in its second week on the national chart was unchanged at a 1.0 but up by double-digits across the board in key demos.

King World’s Living It Up! With Ali &Jack was unchanged at a 0.9.

Millionaire, the No. 3 game show, hit a 4.0 for the first time, climbing 3% from the week before and 11% from last year. King World’s Jeopardy, in second place among games, was up 4% week-to-week to a new season-high 8.1 and King World’s Wheel of Fortune, the game-show leader, was down 2% to a 9.7.

King World’s Dr. Phil was the only talk show in the top four to improve this week, gaining 4% to a 5.3 and scoring a rarity for a talk show, a triple-win in prime time. For the first time, on Jan. 23 Dr. Phil was number-one in all of its prime time slots in San Francisco, Phoenix and Jacksonville, averaging a 6.5/11 in the three markets.

King World’s Oprah, the talk-show leader, was unchanged at a 7.3, although the show is up 30% compared to last year at this time. Season-to-date, Oprah is up 16% in households, 27% in women 18-34, 18% in women 18-49 and 21% in women 25-54. In third place, Buena Vista’s Live With Regis & Kelly was unchanged at a 3.9, while Universal’s Maury was down 3% to a 3.0.

Among off-nets, Sony’s Seinfeld was the only sitcom to advance in the top-five, surging 11% to a new season-high 7.2. Warner Bros.’ Friends was unchanged at a 6.6. King World’s Everybody Loves Raymond fell 2% to a 5.9, while Carsey-Werner-Mandabach’s That 70s Show dropped 7% to a 4.0 and Warner Bros.’ Will & Grace slipped 3% to 3.6.

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.