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In Focus

Oprah Down; Phil Up

Ratings for most syndicated shows were down in the week ended March 13 versus the previous week. Many programs were in repeats after the end of February sweeps. The Oprah Winfrey Show posted the biggest drop of any first-run strip, falling 20% from the week ended March 6. Dr. Phil bucked the trend, gaining 2%. And NBC Universal's Starting Over was up 9%.

Mall tour

Starting Over, the unscripted soap strip involving troubled women living together in a house, is getting some ratings juice from shopping-mall promos. The show's “life coaches” have been traveling the country, running free weekend “revivals” on topics like “Challenges to Change.” Visits are translating into bigger audiences, at least on the Monday after each event. A Feb. 27 visit to Portland, Ore., boosted ratings the next day by about one-third from the previous Monday. In Los Angeles, a revival bumped the audience by 40%.


Twentieth Television has promoted its top researcher, Joanne Burns, to the newly created post of EVP for sales marketing, research and new media. Burns will be heavily involved in developing sales and marketing campaigns, identifying opportunities in new media (such as the Internet and wireless) and advising the company on program development. She joined Twentieth Television in 2000 as SVP.

The independent syndicator Litton Entertainment has named Michael Weiden EVP of media sales. He had been executive director of advertising sales at Sí TV.