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In Focus

Raymond Stays on Top

Everybody in syndication seems to love Raymond, which did terrific business for the week ended Feb. 27. Everybody Loves Raymond was first among off-net strips with a 7.3 household rating. Seinfeld was up 2% from the prior week with a 6.3. Friends and CSI followed with a 5.9. Malcolm was in the middle of the pack with a 3.7, up 6%.

Three first-run shows—The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Dr. Phil and Judge Mathis—posted their highest ratings to date.

Ellen’s gains were driven by its best-ever household rating for a single show: 3.0 on President’s Day, Feb. 21. Guest Ray Romano kicked off an Everybody Loves Raymond week that included appearances by various show stars on succeeding days. Ellen posted a series-high 2.6 rating for the week, up 30% over last year. That was the biggest year-to-year improvement for any talk show.

In its third season, Dr. Phil was up 18% from the prior week to hit its new show high of 6.6. He got a big boost from shows about sexual molestation on Feb. 23 and 24. Judge Mathis, in its sixth season, had its best week ever, up 16% year-to-year to a 2.9 average, ranking it fifth among the strong court field.

The Insider Leads rookies

The Insider pulled a 2.9 rating for the week, holding on to its position as the best-performing freshman show. Among other rookies, Jane Pauley was up 13% from the prior week to 1.7. Tony Danza gained 8% to 1.4; Ambush Makeover was up 20% at 1.2; Larry Elder rose 11% to 1.0; Pat Croce gained 14% to 0.8, and Life & Style was flat at 0.6. Danza is the only freshman to be renewed for next season.