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Hurricane Good for Syndie Ratings

Hurricane Charley was bad for Florida but good for syndicated television, as East Coast viewers -- particularly younger ones still on summer vacation -- stayed home and watched TV during the week ending Aug. 15.

King World's Dr. Phil had the biggest increase among the talk shows, gaining 11% from the prior week to a 4.0. Dr. Phil was helped by a sharp 40% jump in female teens 12-17.

Other gainers included Buena Vista's Live with Regis and Kelly, up 6% to a 3.5, and Paramount's Montel Williams, up 4% to a 2.5. Five other talkers were even with the prior week.

On the negative side, Twentieth's Good Day Live, which will be shaking up its anchor line-up at the end of this month, continued to crumble, skidding 11% to a new season low 0.8.The only other talk show losing ground was King World's The Oprah Winfrey Show in repeats. Oprah fell 2% to a 5.7 but still easily held the top spot.

Elsewhere in daytime, Paramount's Judge Judy hit a 4.6, its highest ratings in 11 weeks, fueled by a 10% increase in women 18-34 and up 2% in households from the prior week. The only other court show to improve was Sony's Judge Hatchett, rising 5% to a 2.0.

In late-night action, NBC Universal's Blind Date led the relationship strips for the 21st week in a row, including four ties. The show jumped 13% to a 1.7, driven by a 27% improvement in women 18-34.

In second place, Warner Bros.' Elimi-Date was unchanged at a 1.5, while NBC Universal's Fifth Wheel sped up 9% to a 1.2, although the show has not been renewed for next season.

In access, Paramount's Entertainment Tonight remained the number-one magazine, holding steady at a 4.5 in households, while growing 8% in women 18-49.

King World's Inside Edition was up 3% to a 3.3 in second place and Warner Bros.' Extra! took third for a second straight week, again bumping NBC Universal's Access Hollywood down to fourth place. Extra! at a 2.3 was up 5%, while Access Hollywood was right behind at a 2.2, up 5% week-to-week.Meanwhile, Warner Bros.' Celebrity Justice had the biggest magazine increase, rebounding 20% to a 1.2.