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Feud Fights Squares in Syndication Ratings

Tribune’s Family Feud
beat rival game show King World’s Hollywood Squares
for the first time since the 2001-02 season, moving into fourth place among syndicated game shows in the week ending Oct. 19.

was up 5% to a 2.1 rating for the week and up 24% from last year at this time, while Hollywood Squares
was unchanged at a 2.0 and down 17% year to year, according to Nielsen’s national household ratings.

King World’s Wheel of Fortune
continued to top both the game show and the syndie charts, even though the show was down 3% to an 8.4 and off 12% from last year. King World’s Jeopardy
came in second, dipping 1% to a 6.6 and losing 11% from last year.

Buena Vista’s Who Wants To Be a Millionaire
was third, gaining 3% to a 3.2 and jumping 19% from last year. Sony’s Pyramid
was up 13% to a 1.8, a 6% jump from last year.

During the week, some early fringe and access shows were preempted by or up against Major League Baseball postseason games in some markets, affecting the ratings of off-net sitcoms, game shows and entertainment magazines.

Among the relationship shows, Universal’s Blind Date
and Warner Bros.’ Elimi-Date
remained unchanged and tied at a 1.5. Universal’s Fifth Wheel
gained 11% to a 1.0 and Twentieth’s Ex-Treme Dating
fell 20% to 0.8.

In rookie action, for the first time since Warner Bros.’ The Sharon OsbourneShow
’s premiere week, the syndicator’s The Ellen DeGeneres Show
became the top-rated new first-run strip, tying Sharon
with an 8% increase to a 1.4. Sharon
was off 7% after hitting its series-high the week before.

NBC Enterprises’ Starting Over
moved into a tie for third place with King World’s Living it Up! with Ali & Jack
, gaining 11% to a 1.0. Ali & Jack
was unchanged at a 1.0, while Buena Vista’s Wayne Brady
was down 10% to 0.9.

Sony’s Judge Hatchett
was the big winner in court, surging 18% to a 2.0 and moving into a tie for fifth place with Warner Bros.’ Judge Greg Mathis
and Twentieth’s Texas Justice
, each of which were flat.

Other gainers this week included Paramount’s top-rated Judge Judy
, up 4% to a 4.8 and Warner Bros.’ People’s Court
, up 5% to a 2.2. The only court loser this week was Paramount’s Judge Joe Brown
, sliding 6% to a 3.2.

Among the ten established talk shows, Universal’s Crossing Over with John Edward
had the biggest percentage increase, improving 11% to a 1.0. Other talk gainers included King World’s talk leader, Oprah
, picking up 2% to a 6.7, and putting her in second place overall in syndication behind Wheel of Fortune

On Monday, Oprah
hit an 8.4 rating/19 share in Nielsen’s weighted metered market ratings with her exclusive visit to the Salt Lake City home of kidnapping victim Elizabeth Smart and her family. That’s the best overnight rating for Oprah
since Feb. 18, 2003, beating even Oprah’s exclusive interview with California governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver.

As for syndication’s other talkers, Sony’s Ricki Lake
tacked on 8% to hit a 1.4 and Twentieth’s Good Day Live
was up 10% to a 1.1.

King World’s Martha Stewart Living
saw the biggest decline among talk shows, tumbling 17% to a 1.0.

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.