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First-Run Syndies Get Promising Starts

In a welcome departure from the dismal starts of previous years, the first-run syndication business looked to be on stronger footing two days into the new season.

A trio of major first-run strips debuting this week got off to promising starts, holding up well in day two.

Twentieth TV’s Judge Alex provided the best showing Tuesday, remaining even from day one to two at a 1.8 rating/5 share, despite its ratings lead-in decreasing by a tenth of a point.

That’s due in large part to the latest judge show’s performance in Chicago, where the primary run at 2 p.m. on WFLD rose from a 1.0/3 Monday to 1.4/5 Tuesday. And a second run at 2:30 leaped from a 0.3/1 to a 1.3/4.

NBC Universal’s Martha, meanwhile, dipped from a 2.4/8 Monday to a 2.3/8 Tuesday in the overnights, but held up remarkably well considering its lead-in dropped from a 2.2/8 to a 1.8/6. In its target demo of women 25-54, the Martha Stewart talk show improved from a 1.0/7 Monday to a 1.2/8 Tuesday.

In New York, Stewart’s show climbed from a 2.6/10 to a 3.1/11 over the two days, landing in second place in its 11 a.m. time period on WNBC. It pulled ahead of WABC-TV’s The View, which had finished first on Monday with a 3.1/12, but slipped to a 2.5/9 Tuesday in the top market. WCBS’ The Price is Right (3.5/13) won the hour Tuesday with two back-to-back episodes.

Telepictures Tyra Banks Show (1.2/4) also dipped a tenth of a rating point but, like Martha, held even in share Tuesday as its lead-in decreased a like amount. In Greensville, S.C., the 35th-ranked market, it posted its best metered numbers at 10 a.m. on WSPA, where it averaged a 4.5/14.

Despite the low overall household numbers, Tyra claimed the prize as the only new first-run show to post triple-digit increases in its key demo. It soared 125% over the September 2004 time period average among women 18-34, with a 0.9/6 Monday and Tuesday (the supermodel’s primary audience on UPN with America’s Next Top Model).

Two new off-net sitcoms were faring not quite as well on their second day, unable to keep pace with their lead-in increases.

Twentieth’s Bernie Mac rose slightly from a 1.6/3 Monday to a 1.7/4 Tuesday, while its lead-in went from a 1.8/4 to a 2.2/4.

And Buena Vista Television’s My Wife and Kids moved from a 1.5/3 to 1.6/3, despite a lead-in increase from a 1.4/3 to 1.6/3.